Pacifica Montessori School


Montessori method

We employ the Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, whose teaching techniques are used all over the world. She was born in Italy in 1870, and, against the social traditions of the time, became Italy's first female doctor in 1896.

In her work at the University of Rome's psychiatric clinic, Doctor Montessori developed an interest in the treatment of young children. At the age of 28 she became the director of a school for abandoned and mentally disabled children. She spent long hours at the school observing and developing her own approach to teaching. After two years she proposed her pupils to sit for the Italian national school placement tests and her group, considered uneducable by all the authorities of the time, passed successfully. Montessori wondered about the potential of normal children; how poorly were they being served if her short intervention could have such an effect on those considered hopelessly deficient?

In 1907, Dr. Montessori was presented with the opportunity to apply her educational theories to normal children. The owner of a tenement in Rome’s impoverished San Lorenzo district was tired of the vandalism of the residents’ children. Dr. Montessori was asked to keep them occupied. It was her first chance to design the child-centered environment she had been dreaming of. From these early beginnings she developed a method of education that spread around the world. Initially invited to the USA by Alexander Graham Bell, she appeared in 1915 at Carnegie Hall, and then established a Montessori classroom at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco--a functioning classroom was built with glass walls that attracted hundreds of observers daily. The exhibit was awarded two gold medals, and established her theories as a viable educational method.

Dr. Montessori spent the rest of her life training teachers. She founded AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) to establish and coordinate training centers to authentically prepare teachers. She died in Holland in 1952 and her legacy includes being nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Today more than 4,000 schools worldwide consider themselves Montessori schools.