Maria Montessori

 
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Born in Italy, in 1870, Dr Maria Montessori was one of the most influential pioneers of Early Years education of this century.  Although her ideas have been recognised world-wide for almost 100 years, they were way ahead of their time and so appear as fresh and modern as if they had been introduced in the late twentieth century.

Dr Montessori's discoveries are based on the observations she made of young children.  She believed that given the right environment and stimulation, every child can develop social skills and achievements way beyond normal expectations.

She recognised that children have an innate desire to explore and learn, and she encouraged each and every child - regardless of their background - to reach their full potential.  

Maria Montessori also made a profound discovery, which affects how we view early learning - that children learn more effortlessly up to the age of six than they ever will again, and that they require an environment especially prepared for them (with everything just the right size!) where they are at liberty to explore - following their inner 'guide'. 

The adults in this environment are also guides - and not 'teachers' in the traditional sense.  Their task is to support the child's development with 'prudent and affectionate care'.