from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- A system of training and instruction, primarily for use with normal children aged from three to six years, devised by Dr. Maria Montessori while teaching in the “Houses of Childhood” (schools in the poorest tenement districts of Rome, Italy), and first fully described by her in 1909. The fundamental aim is to create self-motivation for education, and the leading features are freedom for physical activity (no stationary desks and chairs), informal and individual instruction, the very early development of reading and writing skills, and an extended sensory and motor training (with special emphasis on vision, touch, perception of movement, and their interconnections), mediated by a patented, standardized system of “didactic apparatus,” which is declared to be “auto-regulative.” Most of the chief features of the method are borrowed from current methods used in many institutions for training feeble-minded children, and dating back especially to the work of the French-American physician Edouard O. Seguin (1812-80).
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