Montessori Philosophy


Montessori is an approach to working with children that is carefully based on what has been learned about children’s cognitive, neurological and emotional development. The Montessori approach has been acclaimed by some of North America’s top experts on early childhood and elementary education as the most developmentally appropriate model currently available. The Montessori method focuses on teaching for understanding. Active learning through hands-on activities and exercises rather than “book learning” is emphasized in order to encourage the development of the creative and analytical mind.

About Maria Montessori

Born on August 31, 1870, in the small town of Chiaravalle in eastern Italy, Maria Montessori was described from a very early age as having a powerful character with a strong sense of duty and an assertive nature. She went on to graduate from medical school and become the first female physician in Italy’s history. As a female, Dr. Montessori was not permitted to practice medicine in Italy’s hospitals so she opened the very first casa de bambini or “children’s house” in a poor quarter of the San Lorenzo tenements. It was there that she began to develop what would later become known as the Montessori Method to the education of young children.

“A child’s work,” Dr. Montessori said, “is to create the man he will become. An adult works to perfect the environment, but a child works to perfect himself.”

The Montessori Method – based on careful observation of and respect for the natural development of the child, has become widely practiced in schools around the world for almost a century. Dr. Montessori recognized that a child is more responsive to certain learning experiences at particular times or “sensitive periods.” Careful observation allows the Montessori-trained teacher to identify these sensitive periods when a child is ready for a new learning experience. The teacher then can direct the child toward materials that will satisfy his or her development needs. “It is true we cannot make a genius,” Dr. Montessori wrote. “We can only give each individual the chance to fulfill his potential to become an independent, secure and balanced human being.”

From two to six years of age, children are in the period that Dr. Montessori referred to as the Absorbent Mind. During this time, children form their personality and self. Mind, memory, power to understand, and ability to think through impressions gained from the environment are all constructed during this time.

Each of our three children benefited from getting their Montessori start at CAMP. The experienced teachers are deeply child-centered, responding to the cues that the children are ready to take on new challenges. The teachers present the materials with patience, focus, and kindness and children respond enthusiastically. CAMP has a beautiful, light-filled classroom fully equipped with Montessori materials. At CAMP, those materials are certainly not just for show! Ask the teachers at CAMP to explain the materials and you will be amazed at the genius of Maria Montessori and her understanding of how knowledge builds from the concrete to the abstract. My eldest two are now in high school and demonstrate academic excellence that can be directly traced to the insights gained, and Montessori concepts mastered at CAMP.”

—From Mavis Dixon