This system of education is both a philosophy of child development and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is based on two important developmental needs of children:

  1. the need for freedom within limits
  2. a carefully prepared environment which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences

The Montessori method of education is designed to take full advantage of the children’s desire to learn and their unique ability to develop their own capabilities.

The main principles of Montessori education

  • Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other.
  • Children possess an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to absorb and learn from their environment that is unlike those of the adult both in quality and capacity.
  • The most important years of children’s growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.

Why choose a Montessori nursery?

All children want to learn. With the freedom to investigate the world around them, they will become active learners. In the Montessori environment, children have the freedom (within limits) to choose their own activities. With this freedom of choice, children will become enthusiastic learners and this will aid them to develop self-discipline.

The Montessori environment is child-centred. Children progress at their own pace. Lessons are given on an individual basis or in small groups. This enables the teacher to discover more about each individual child and their inner development. Children develop best in a caring environment where they are allowed to express themselves and when learning experiences interest them and are part of their world.

The Montessori environment is a nourishing place for children. It is designed to meet the child’s need for self-construction. The environment is responsive to the continually changing needs of the growing child. Expression is encouraged through art/craft and drama.

A positive self-concept is the foundation for learning success. The child’s self-esteem is central to Montessori education. At Townsend Montessori, we believe in providing an all-round learning environment which will help the child to develop physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally.

The Montessori classroom

The Montessori classroom is a “living room” for children. Children choose their activities from open shelves with self-correcting materials and work in distinct work areas – on tables or on rugs on the floor.

The practical life exercises enhance the development of task organisation and cognitive order through care of self, care of the environment, exercises of grace and courtesy, and refinement of physical movement and coordination.

The sensorial materials enable the child to order, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation, length, width, temperature, mass, colour, etc.

The Montessori maths materials, through concrete manipulative materials, allow the child to internalise the concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations and memorisation of basic facts.

The language work includes oral language development, written expression, reading, and the study of grammar, creative dramatics and children’s literature. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters (loose alphabet letters) and various presentations, allowing children to effortlessly link sounds and symbols and to express their thoughts in writing.

The child is also presented with geography, history, life sciences, music, art and movement education.

Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori lived from 1870 to 1952. She was the first woman to attend medical school in Italy and the first female Doctor of Medicine there. Through her work with handicapped and socially deprived children, she developed her unique educational method known as the Montessori method. As a result of her further study, observation and experimentation, she found the principles of her method to be applicable to all children. She has had an impact on the field of education in general and the way we understand and teach children today.

Montessori’s influence can be seen not only in the number of schools that bear her name, but throughout the fields of childcare, education and child development. Many of her ideas are now part of our common knowledge, language and thinking about children. She was an innovator in the field of education, and ideas that were once met with great resistance in her day now seem natural as accepted aspects of childhood.