One-hundred-ten years ago this week, education innovator Maria Montessori opened her second “Casa dei Bambini,” or Children’s House, in Rome to educate more than 50 children between the ages of two and six in what was becoming an increasingly popular academic pedagogy.
By the end of 1911, Montessori education had been officially adopted in public schools in both Italy and Switzerland. By 1912, Montessori schools had opened in Paris and many other Western European cities, and were planned for Argentina, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Syria, the United States and New Zealand. In addition, public programs in London, Johannesburg, Rome and Stockholm had adopted the method in their school systems.
The first United States Montessori school was opened in October 1911, in Tarrytown, New York. Shortly thereafter, inventor Alexander Graham Bell and his wife became proponents of the Montessori method and opened the first Canadian Montessori school near their home in Ontario.
Today, there are more than 4,500 Montessori schools in the United States and about 20,000 worldwide.
The Grosse Pointe Academy, which is home to Michigan’s longest continuous-running Montessori program, is pleased to offer four quotes from Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method, arguably the world’s most innovative education philosophy. Enjoy!
“My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding from secondary school to University but of passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity and effort of will.” (From Childhood to Adolescence — 1948, opening)
“We recognize the immense power, the unconscious forces existing in the child on the threshold of life. For many years we have been proclaiming that it is necessary to educate the child from the moment of birth. We have traced, through study and practical experience, the ideal path leading to the world of children, of these beings whose social status has as yet not been determined, whose rights have not been recognized and who nevertheless represent the men of tomorrow.” (From the San Remo Lectures — 1949)
“We then found that individual activity is the one factor that stimulates and produces development, and that this is not more true for the little ones of preschool age than it is for the junior, middle, and upper school children.” (From The Absorbent Mind — 1949, p. 7)
“All the social and moral habits that shape a man’s personality. . .are formed during infancy, in virtue of that mysterious mental power that psychologists have called ‘Mneme.’” (From The Absorbent Mind — 1949, p. 59)
Learn more about the Academy’s Early School Montessori program here.
The Grosse Pointe Academy is an independent, coeducational day school serving children age 2-1/2 through Grade 8. We foster an inclusive environment that respects all cultures and religious beliefs. We seek to remain faithful to our heritage as a former Academy of the Sacred Heart and to those who through their Catholic faith and perseverance sought to preserve and enhance the legacy of this past for generations. Incorporated as a non-profit institution, The Grosse Pointe Academy is directed by a Board of Trustees working together to serve the Southeastern Michigan community.