1. Design Problem
  2. Literature Review
  3. Work Models
  4. Design Patterns
  5. Design Experiments
  6. Lessons
  7. Montessori Computes

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Patterns and Design


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These pages might be of interest to researchers who want to know more about Montessori's practices and others who influenced her work. They contain notes and thoughts on the Montessori method, influences on Montessori's work,  interaction design, and their application to the development and implementation of self-directed learning environments.

Maria Montessori was a prolific designer of learning materials, activities and learning environments that support guided discovery.  Observation and experimentation were important components of her design process.  The materials, environments and practices that she designed have been implemented and researched all over the world for nearly a century.

As a Montessori teacher, I am currently re-examining Montessori theory and practice to inform my practice.  The Montessori Design Project has three goals:

  1. To characterize the Montessori method in ways that support the use and development of learning environments.
  2. To apply this characterization to classroom practice.
  3. To find or develop appropriate instruments for evaluating outcomes of practice.

One of Montessori's chief concerns was the development of environments and practices that promote child development.

Her approach was to:

  • Provide children with a learning environment and a guide.
  • Observe interactions between the child, environment, and guide.
  • Interpret the interactions.
  • Redesign aspects of the environment or redirect the guide or students according to her interpretation of the interactions.

Questions to be investigated include:

  • How did she adopt this approach? Influences included Lombroso and others who were interested in what might be called "applied anthropology". How did her methods of data collection change over time?
  • How did she decide what learning environment to start with, and what kind of interactions between child, environment and guide were supportive of or harmful to growth? Besides the work of Itard and Seguin, what did she read about educational theory? Some of her ideas are strikingly similar to Spencer's, even though she doesn't mention him. What did she bring to the classroom from her work with special needs children, and how did she develop the materials and practices she used with those children?
  • How did Montessori apply anthropology to improving education?

Articles Related to Montessori

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Click here for Other Sites on Montessori and related theory and practice.