“Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it.” (Maria Montessori)(Mária Kériné Harnos, 2019. október 31.)
Montessori schools have spread throughout the world. The first Montessori school in Hungary was established in 1991. But who was Maria Montessori exactly, the founder of this pedagogical method? Maria Montessori (1871-1952) was the first woman medical doctor in Italy, and she was also a teacher and psychologist. The Montessori psychological method was also named after her. She studied engineering then medicine. She was the first woman to get a degree in medicine at an Italian university. In 1898 she was assigned to establish an institute for students with special needs. She organized and lead the roman Scuola Magistrale Ortofrenica institution and she was interested in how her experience could be used in case of children without special needs. Therefore, she opened a Children’s House (Casa dei Bambini) in 1907 for children in kindergarten in the outskirts of Rome.
Due to her commitment and willpower, a new system has emerged, which puts emphasis and concentrates on accepting and helping the other person, enhancing creativity, satisfying and putting the needs of children first. She developed a new and child-centered educational method. Every step of her pedagogical tool aims at developing skills, getting to know the environment, valuing and helping other people, loving knowledge and beauty. She used motivating game and working tools (Montessori tools), which help via the usage of human senses. She was the first to use furniture in kindergarten (chairs, tables, shelves) that were smaller in size so that they could fit children’s size. She also applied games to a great extent, which games were accessible by children and they could take it from the selves, but they were also responsible for putting it back on the shelves themselves.
Montessori has revolutionized the old notion of teaching and learning and she believes that you can only gain real knowledge by experience. Direct teaching is not the task of the teacher. However, the teacher should create an environment in which each child can get to know the nature and characteristics of different things and phenomenon. This way, the child does not only acquire knowledge, but their skills and personality develop: independence, creativity, problem recognition, problem-solving abilities, thinking, and skills to cooperate.
As Maria Montessori stated:
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.
The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, ’The children are now working as if I did not exist.'
One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.
A film was made about the life of the well-known teacher and about the spreading of her method. The title of the film is “Maria Montessori: A life for children” (Maria Montessori: una vita per i bambini).