"The child has one intuitive aim: self development. He desperately wants to develop his resources, his ability to cope with a strange, complex world. He wants to do and see and learn for himself through his senses and not through the eyes of an adult. The child who accomplishes this, moves into harmony with his world. He becomes a full person. He is educated."
- Dr. Maria Montessori
Since the Montessori system acknowledges the uniqueness of each child's personality, it allows the child to choose what they want to learn with the help of a facilitator. Children are allowed a large measure of independence, which in turn is moulded to form the basis of self-discipline. As the children progress at their own pace, the need for coercion is eliminated, thus allowing for the development of their understanding and confidence. Hence a Montessori child with hands-on training and a sense of confidence and understanding is well prepared for the future.
The Montessori environment is based on a fine balance between structure and freedom. The concept of freedom coupled with responsibility is gradually introduced after a childs inception into the system. The children have a wide variety of constructive paths to choose from and are also taught social values. In the Montessori system, freedom is being able to clearly identify what is constructive and beneficial, and then have the ability to undertake the task.
The core of the Montessori belief is respect for each other and for the environment. Every Montessori class, regardless of age, works within this framework by allowing freedom within limits. Children are given the freedom to work with or without company, with materials they have chosen and more importantly at their own pace. The teacher relies on his/her observation to decide the level of proficiency attained and further the intensity of activities. The three year age-span in each class allows for a learning space where the more experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. This system of peer group learning is intrinsic to Montessori as there is often more conversation in the Montessori classroom, than that in a conventional educational setting. Hence the Montessori system makes the most of this intense period of fascination for learning and makes it easier for a child to pick up new skills in this 'sensitive period' than at any other time of their life.
Montessori children are extremely adaptable as they have learned to work independently and in groups from an early age. Also since they have been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, Montessori children are problem solvers, who can make independent choices and manage their time efficiently. In short, they are adeptly equipped to face the challenges of school life and further.