THE MONTESSORI PHILOSOPHY
Maria Montessori believed that the task of the child was to construct an adult. Carried unseen within each child is the person that the child can become, and the purpose of a Montessori education is to assist the child in constructing this adult. Therefore, a Montessori education is a preparation for life. It recognizes that education must be an aid to life and support the natural development of the child.
The Montessori program prepares the child for the next step in his or her development by giving the child responsibility for his or her own learning. The child becomes an independent learner in a harmonious community. The adults in the community act as guides or resources to help the child in this task. Exploration, order, repetition, self-control, and the opportunity for communication and purposeful work produce a confident, competent learner. To develop physical, intellectual, and spiritual powers to the fullest, the child needs freedom within limits.
Dr. Montessori developed a "prepared environment" which features an ordered arrangement of learning materials in a non-competitive atmosphere. The Montessori environment is rich in materials appropriate to each child’s level of development so that the child can learn skills at an optimal time in his or her development. A variety of materials and work, as well as long, uninterrupted blocks of time to work alone are also essential. The child has a great need to independence and activity requiring use of the hands. The child is given the freedom to work on his or her own choices of materials. As a child repeats an exercise and becomes involved in a task, concentration develops. The child will emerge refreshed – not tired – from working. The child is allowed to function without obstacles imposed arbitrarily by the adult. A variety of ages in the classroom allows for social learning and provides a natural community setting where the child learns to respect the rights and needs of others and which encourages social interactions and cooperation.
The Montessori School of Ruston emphasizes the importance of the Montessori method for children of all ages. The principles of self-motivation apply to all learning experiences and can truly be "a blueprint for life."