In The Montessori Method, Maria Montessori introduces a scientific approach to pedagogy. The Montessori schools which she established and developed are intended for children three to seven years of age. The children are allowed as much freedom as possible and are provided with "didactic materials" which are various artifacts which they can use to educate themselves. They are supervised by a single directress whose primary task is too observe the children and direct their efforts by explaining to them how various didactic materials are used (it's very simple, but nothing is obvious to a youngchild).
This book offers some valuable concrete advice, but its primary use is as an introduction to the approach of scientific pedagogy. The basic premises are that i. Children have a natural desire to learn and ii. One can learn how to live in freedom only by being free. These premises are fully supported and fleshed out in the book.
The Montessori method achieved startling results, with four year old children (on average) learning to be masters of themselves, disciplined, benevolent, self-confident, and capable of reading and writing. Every educator should be familiar with Maria Montessori's work.
About the Author:
Maria Montessori (1870-1952), Italian physician and educationist, born in Rome, the first woman in Italy to receive a mediacal degree (1894), she founded a school for children with learning disabilities (1899-1901), and developed a system of education for children of three to six based on spontaneity of expression and freedom from restraint. The system was later worked out for older childre, and applied in Montessori schools throughout the world. She opened the first Montessori school for children in the slums of Rome in 1907.