Maria Montessori 1870 -1952 was a pioneer in education. It was she who revolutionised children’s education by introducing child-sized furniture into the educational environment. Montessori recognised and understood the importance of focusing on the individual child. She realised that confidence, independence and inner discipline would develop if children were left to explore and learn at their own pace.
The role of the teacher in the Montessori school is to be a directress, first preparing the environment and then acting as a link between the child and the materials.
The Montessori method encourages the child to enjoy the process of learning. It does not introduce the competitive drive of other curricula and yet leads each child to develop their full potential. The ‘failure to keep up’ approach is avoided by the thorough observations that the teachers make. The teachers, with their knowledge gained through observations, know the appropriate moment to introduce the next activity to each child. The art is to give the child an exercise which is challenging but within their capabilities so that they are being stimulated without the fear of failure.