Take a breath. Remember a time that you went someplace new, seeing things you’d never seen, making sense of unfamiliar sounds, decoding shapes, colors, tastes, customs, ideas and more. That memory is your doorway into the world of the 3-6 year-olds around you. Wonder is their world.
Eventually they’ll separate work from play, learning from rest, exploring from relaxing, but right now they’re what Maria Montessori called “an exquisite whole, driven by their own perfect curiosity, emerging, absorbing, always becoming.” We use all of our skill to guide them.
Researcher, scientist, pedagogue and early-childhood pioneer, Dr. Montessori was remarkable by any standard. One-hundred-and-eleven years ago, Italy’s indomitable first female physician returned to Rome’s San Lorenzo neighborhood where she had served as a resident intern, and began the practical work of restoring early childhood education. Maria’s first Casa di Bambini (children’s house) drew over sixty young neighborhood children. Their days were carefully structured, built around respect, cleanliness, order, beauty and the simple tasks of everyday life. Through it all, Maria wove a progressive series of intellectual exercises, gross and fine motor activities, songs, movements, games and conversation. Within months, children from the house began exhibiting greater concentration, self-direction, extraordinary skill with mathematics, language and creative collaboration. Four months later, at the urging of the Italian government, Maria opened her second site. Her nascent work had already attracted the attention of the world, as it offered a hopeful alternative to the failing institutional educational practices of the post-industrial age.
Hundreds of books and thousands of journal articles document the rest of her story. For us, it’s led right here, as we bring Maria's time-proven work to a new location in our lovingly restored historic mansion that is, in so many ways, very close to home.
So, if you have a particularly special three-to-six-year-old in your life and you’d like to explore the Montessori difference, spend a few minutes on our website, then call us, speak with one of our staff and arrange a visit. In the meantime, always remember what an extraordinary gift early childhood years are to the young souls around you, a time.