The term "Montessori" refers to Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor who discovered the learning potential of young children around 100 years ago. Her discoveries were revolutionary at the time and are now validated by modern educational and brain research. Lakewood Montessori adheres to the method and materials designed by Dr. Montessori. The philosophy involves a few key principles:
- Young children possess unusually sensitive and extraordinary abilities for absorbing information from their environment. Montessori referred to young children as having absorbent minds similar to sponges.
- The most important years for learning and growth are the first six years of life, the time when children absorb knowledge unconsciously.
- Children have a deep love and need for purposeful activity, which Dr. Montessori called "work". It is through this activity that the child accomplishes an important intrinsic goal; the development of his or her mental, physical and social powers.
- The goal of early childhood education should be to cultivate and encourage within the child, his or her natural desire to learn.
- Dr. Montessori found that when children feel confident in their ability to act independently and contribute to the community, they are happy. The more a child does for himself, the more he will grow and develop.