Okanagan Montessori School follows the educational theories and practices of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian medical doctor and educational specialist. Situated in a beautiful, refurbished brick school, East Kelowna Montessori opened in 1992 to offer the Okanagan Valley education for the whole child, empowering children to be active in their own learning, in creating a community within the school and in working toward peace in the world. The school exemplifies the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori, whose system of education is respected throughout the world.
About Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was born in Italy in August 1870. She became interested in the biological sciences and was determined to study medicine, something that was quite unthinkable for a woman of her time to pursue. She was ridiculed and only allowed to practice the hands-on skills in the evenings, when no men were present. Maria did become a physician and often worked with the poor, believing that it was her social responsibility. This led to a request for her to visit Rome’s asylums, where she encountered many disadvantaged children.
In 1900, Dr. Montessori enrolled in the University of Rome to study psychology and pursued Seguin’s theory of educating the senses through concrete experiences. In 1906, Dr. Montessori was asked to look after many children from age three to age six who were roaming the streets and getting into mischief. The first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) was started in 1907. Here Maria gained further insight into the nature of children and formed the basis of the discoveries explained in her first book, The Montessori Method, published in Rome in 1912.
Maria Montessori devoted her life to travel, lecture and promoting Montessori education. She believed all children should be given the chance to “reveal themselves,” learning through process and not focused on product. Her greatest hope was for children to become excited and enthralled with the universe surrounding them and to live in peace with themselves and others.