Chiaravalle Montessori bases its programs on the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, the first Italian woman to become a physician. Born in Chiaravalle, Italy, in 1870, she became interested in how children learn and how their environments affect their learning.
On January 6, 1907, Dr. Montessori opened the first Casa dei Bambini for children of working parents in an apartment complex in Rome. Using scientific methods to observe and analyze how children learn, Montessori revolutionized our understanding of children and their education. She discovered that children’s learning capabilities are specific to their developmental stage. A complete Montessori education for infants through secondary school allows children to maximize their learning potential.
Montessori saw that young children are capable of long periods of concentration and use repetition to master learning materials. She devised sets of sequenced learning materials that guide children towards reading, writing, understanding place value in mathematics, geometrical shapes, and geographical recognition of the continents and nations. While concentrating, children’s movements become refined and coordinated, leading to increased self-discipline.
Later Dr. Montessori recognized the particular learning capabilities of elementary and middle school students. Elementary students possess boundless intellectual curiosity; therefore, Montessori created an integrated curriculum incorporating anthropology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, geometry, history, literature, mathematics, and zoology. These studies continue during the middle grades as young adolescents, ready for higher-order critical thinking, use primary source materials to explore integrated themes drawn from history, philosophy, and science.
Dr. Montessori devoted her life to the education and understanding of children. She believed the purpose of education was to assist the process of life. She died in 1952, leaving a legacy that continues to grow as her ideas are implemented in classrooms worldwide.