Sunday, May 29, 2011


Maria Montessori's educational philosophy focused on achieving pace through the promotion of a global and diverse outlook combined with personal responsibility.
She believed peace could be promoted through investment in children.
Some of the key elements of her philosophy are Prepared environments and Planes of Development.

The Montessori idea of a prepared environment is designed to give children freedom within pre-defined limits. The environment is prepared to offer wide range of choices (within the mental, physical and psychological capabilities of the children) in which they are free to learn what is interesting to them and create their own understanding through experimenting as well as learning from the actions of their peers and teachers.

The Montessori prepared environment model must be designed with aesthetic beauty in mind and be arranged in a way that the students will find pleasing and enjoyable to learn in.

The Montessori philosophy focuses on guiding youths to acquire a good sense of imagination and learn how to judgment when given options. This will guide them to learn how to make decisions on their own and thus lead them to acquire self-discipline which in turn will help them be better equipped to successfully manage their own lives, goals, plans and relationships.

Montessori believed the prepared environment will help students learn from their personal experiences, from their peers and from their teachers through the process of individual and group exploration.

Montessori believed the child's development progresses through four developmental planes which she outlined as follows:
1.           Age of Prudence
2.           Age of Temperance
3.           Age of Justice
4.           Age of Fortitude

A good understanding of the various developmental planes would help the educator cultivate the various phases to support individual and group learning. Montessori believed these developmental periods respond to various intellectual, social and moral awakenings and educators must help cultivate and nurture these awakenings by positively exposing the students to relevant and beneficial learning environments and activities.
With every developmental phase, an educator should ensure he builds the learning activities around themes and values that are relevant to that phase.

On the whole, Montessori's philosophy revolved around the idea of bring up children to possess a sense of personal responsibility for their decisions under the structured guidance of the educator within an environment that is designed to encourage freedom of learning among the students.

The prepared environments allows students learn as they explore their environment which should be designed with the student's interests in mind as well as with consideration for the intellectual, social and moral awakenings of their developmental plane.

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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.