Each human being has a natural need to grow and advance. Montessori is a holistic scientific educational system fulfilling this need. It is founded on the belief that within the human being there is an enormous untapped potential that needs a fertile environment and a different educational approach from the educator in order to be fully expressed. It helps humans to develop to their fullest potential.
The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an ‘aid to life’. Montessori education is designed to support the natural development of children from birth to adulthood so it is not just nursery education but takes the child right through secondary school too. Great focus is given to the formation of the child’s fundamental capacities during the first years of life – not just intellectual capacity but also the development of a strong personality.
As an educational system, it is used in over 22,000 schools worldwide, and has a longer track record of success than any other educational approach in the world.
The Montessori approach to education, inspires children towards a lifelong love of learning, by following their natural developmental trajectory. Children become confident, responsible, independent learners, who trust in their own abilities. The inclusivity and positive social development facilitated by the Montessori programme forms the basis for a persistent attachment to learning and knowledge.
Children who have been given the right kind of support for natural development grow into children who are self-motivated and love learning, can think flexibly and creatively and who are not only conscious of the needs of others but actively foster harmony within their peer groups.
Montessori classrooms provide a specially crafted learning environment where children are able to respond to their natural tendency to work. Children have an innate passion for learning, and the Montessori classroom encourages this by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. The Montessori curriculum is child-led. In the Montessori approach the role of the teacher is to guide, so the child becomes the active learner. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities. Children are given the freedom to develop according to their own unique path and as a result they are able to reach each developmental milestone as and when they are ready. Actively engaged in their own development in this way they grow into confident, socially aware, empathetic adults who are contributing members of society.
Montessori education is a comprehensive and continuous response to the vital exigencies of the total human being, adapted to each stage of development. Key aspects of the Montessori approach include the Prepared Environment, the role of the Montessori Educator and the scientifically designed Montessori materials.
In Bulgaria, Montessori education is available for children of 1 to 12 year of age, through early childhood education and care services, preschools and elementary schools. The number of Montessori schools in Bulgaria is growing steadily with over 10 schools and centres across the country. The majority of Montessori settings are privately-owned, with an increasing number of classrooms within the public school system.