Dr. Maria Montessori was a woman who broke new grounds in many ways. Born in 1870, she became the first female physician in Italy at a time when woman in the medical field were unheard. Her medical practice and observation paved the way for her far reaching education reforms. She defined education as "aid offer to life" and the role of the teacher as a facilitator who guided the child's development.
Her discovery of the limitless ability of children to absorb information from their environment through their senses and their timeless and spontaneity in doing work, inspired her to establish a new system of education .She was inspired by simple but profound truth that "Children teach themselves".
Every piece of equipment and every activity Montessori developed was based on scientific observation and precise experimentation. Her aim was to set up a system of education that aided the natural process of cognitive and psychological development in children. She felt that children be allowed to develop according to their inner laws of development would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization
The classroom is designed to facilitate maximum independent learning. It is a place of beauty with child size furnishings and enhances the child's freedom. The child learns and interacts with children of mixed ages. The atmosphere in one of helpfulness and co-operation. It is calm, orderly and constructed to meet child’s needs.
The materials used are scientifically designed to aid development in a holistic manner. They engage the children in purposeful activity .They are arranged invitingly and within reach of the child. The materials stimulate independent exploration. The activities build intelligence, independence and analytical thinking. They also give the child a sense of accomplishment.
The Teacher is a child advocate and guardian. She prepares the environment and materials and connects the child with them. Since Montessori education is based on the inner motivation of the child, it is the teacher's role to work with this motivation in ways that will enhance the child's development. This is called "Following the Child".Montessori teacher never unnecessarily interferes with child's work. They stand back while the child is working to allow the child the satisfaction of his own discovery.