Maria Montessori was not a teacher, she was a scientist, and that is exactly how she approached education. Dr. Montessori had no preconceived ideas about how to teach children, in fact, she was very honest about not having a clue. She started observing children and objectively documenting what she saw. She then started to develop ways for these children to experience learning using the information she gathered. She believed very strongly that the child should be nurtured and given every opportunity to develop naturally and not in some predetermined manner. It was her belief that each child, if given the freedom to do so, would develop to their fullest potential as whole human beings, not as clones of what the adult world thought was ‘proper’.
Throughout her life Maria Montessori began to see that children blossomed when allowed to learn for themselves. If they were given the opportunity to discover or experience something themselves instead of being told how or why it is, their potential was boundless. Because of this, Dr. Montessori developed many materials to allow the children to discover and learn for themselves. She strongly believed that human beings learn best by doing, touching and manipulating so she devised materials where the children could do just that to learn and grow. Click here to see the comparison of Montessori versus traditional methods.
What a better way for deaf children to learn! We know that to maximize their learning we must guide them in such a way that allows them to experience what they are doing, not just be told this is the way it is. Knowing the basis of Montessori and requirements of deaf children, combining the two is an inevitable conclusion. Montessori requires that each child be observed and then guided, not instructed, through education. This is a very important distinction. Each child is to be viewed as a unique human being, to be looked at like no other and treated as such. It is our job to objectively observe the child and then use that information to create an environment that will best allow the child to explore and discover to reach their fullest potential, all the while instilling a love of learning.
This is no small order, but it can be accomplished by combining knowledge of deafness and education with the philosophy and workings of Maria Montessori. In this way, a superior education for deaf children is achieved.
To learn more about Maria Montessori and the Montessori method, you can check out our links to various helpful web sites by clicking here.