From birth, children instinctively reach out to explore and learn about the world around them. They love to touch, to taste; they turn inquisitively toward new sounds, smile at familiar voices; they reach for bright colors, explore interesting shapes. Learning is a process that involves all of the senses, especially touch, and the senses feed the child’s absorbent and eager mind. Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician, founded her method of education on this understanding of how children learn. Dr. Montessori created intriguing materials that invite children to manipulate and explore and that cultivate their individual initiative, curiosity and motivation, the key qualities of a life-long learner. Dr. Montessori also understood that the classroom should be carefully arranged to provide freedom to explore and the guidance from a carefully trained teacher. Learning becomes for all children a joyful path on which they are guided by their innate curiosity and delight in discovery.
A Wake Forest Montessori education plants the seeds of learning in the fertile ground of a child’s natural curiosity and joy in discovery, thus nurturing through the school years the child’s initiative to explore and to question, to engage with the world, to learn, and to emerge as a creative, imaginative, independent life-long learner.
Today researchers have confirmed Dr. Montessori’s belief that intellectual skills develop when a child’s learning process awakens as many senses as possible and when the child is happy. Montessori education engages children emotionally as well as physically with intriguing, hands-on materials and appropriately challenging concepts. As they grow through a Montessori education, children develop their aesthetic, artistic sense and learn both what Dr. Montessori called the Practical Life Skills of everyday living as well as the disciplines of language, mathematics, science, art, music, geography and history. They become confident and eager learners.
Research studies have shown that Montessori educated students are well prepared for life emotionally, socially and academically. Scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are above average in following directions, adapting to new situations, turning in work on time, listening attentively, taking responsibility, asking provocative questions, and enthusiasm for learning.