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There are Montessori schools for children the world over, but do you know what Montessori is all about? The Montessori method was developed by an Italian educator, Maria Montessori who lived from 1870 - 1952. Dr. Montessori undertook postgraduate research into the intellectual development of children. During her lifetime she developed techniques for learning, gained worldwide fame and established Montessori schools and foundations in many countries.
Montessori techniques focus on children learning through exploration and unguided play rather than through a teacher imparting knowledge. Montessori children are exposed to a broad range of materials and objects through which they can stimulate their senses and learn about the physical world. Children are encouraged to learn without realising that they are learning.
A Montessori education does not set out to teach academic subjects like maths or science. Although formal academic teaching can borrow from Montessori techniques, Montessori concentrates more on intellectual development. Most Montessori schools cater for preschool children before they join the traditional academic stream, although Dr. Montessori developed a path for children from birth up to the age of 15.
Today the Montessori name is unprotected and can set up a school or group and use the 'Montessori' name. There are organisations that accredit schools formally, so if you are set on finding a genuine Montessori education for your children, make sure that you verify that the establishments you are considering are at least accredited and that they really do adhere to traditional Montessori methods.
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