The Montessori Method
Sheila started the Marlin Montessori Group of Schools in 1966. St Andrew’s was established in 1991 at The Royal Caledonian School site and moved into High Elms Manor (formerly Garston Manor) in 1997 to become High Elms Manor School.
The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an aid to life. It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Its flexibility provides a matrix within which each individual child's inner directives freely guide the child toward wholesome growth.
There are so many misconceptions about Montessori. Some people say ‘that’s where the children are allowed to do exactly as they like’ others say ‘it’s too rigid - the children have to work all the time and have no time to socialise.’ The reality is that Montessori is neither of these. Dr Maria Montessori was born in 1870. She was the first woman doctor in Italy. She studied Education, Philosophy, Psychology and Anthropology. At 28 she worked with children with special needs and designed materials and techniques which allowed the children to work in areas considered beyond their capacity. Montessori’s pupils passed the state exams along with other children. Montessori concluded that if children with special needs could be brought to the same academic level as other children, something must be wrong with the education of the latter.
At the age of 37 she took responsibility for a group of poor children in the slums of Rome and founded her first school which was to become world famous. She observed the children scientifically with no pre-conceived educational ideas. Her unique approach to these children led to surprising results. She observed that when previously unruly children were provided with experiences, which corresponded closely to their stage of development, they easily became absorbed in purposeful activities. Challenging material engendered greater interest than toys. The children generally wished to do things for themselves and were less interested in rewards given for working than in the activity itself. She discovered their remarkable and almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings - children teach themselves. This simple and profound truth inspired her.
Dr Montessori lectured throughout the world and wrote many books. Training courses and schools sprang up. She designed an extensive range of special teaching materials.
For more information about the Montessori method please go to www.montessori-uk.org