Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952) was an Italian educator who
developed an educational system based on child development. Her
schools deal primarily with preschool and early elementary aged
children. Her method is characterized by an emphasis on
self-directed activity on the part of the child and clinical
observation on the part of the teacher. The learning environment
must be adapted to the maturity level of the child. New concepts
are taught using autodidactic (self-correcting) equipment). In this
way a child's mistake is caught immediately instead of the child
doing an activity and not getting feedback until a later time.
Montessori teachers stock their classrooms with nature shelves,
living plants and small pets, or perhaps a window sill garden,
allowing children to experience as much of the natural world as
possible given modern constraints. The class may have a three year
age span thus allowing for ranges in development and social levels.
Spontaneous Activity in Education covers a wide range of topics
from child development, to setting up a classroom and training
teachers, social issues, and educational philosophy.
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