Percussion set of drums, a xylophone and a tambourine
Wooden plugs
beads lined up

The Montessori method

A Montessori nursery is set up and run on the educational principles developed by Maria Montessori. The Montessori approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child. Fundamental to the approach is the belief that a child’s early years from birth to six are the period when they have the greatest capacity to learn.

At Riverside we are passionate about Montessori education. We provide an environment in which children develop on an individual basis guided from within by their natural curiosity and by the careful guidance of our experienced Montessori teachers. We see the early years as a preparation for life and a foundation for everything which follows.

Who was Maria Montessori?

She was born in 1870 in Italy and was a pioneer in more than one area, being the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome as a Doctor of Medicine. This led her to become interested in children with learning difficulties. She approached the challenges of education as a scientist rather than as an educator or philosopher, and used the classroom as an educational laboratory in which to observe young children and to try out new ideas and techniques.

Her method is founded on the belief that providing a warm and secure environment enables children to most easily absorb information. Montessori saw that children learn best by doing and that happy self-motivated learners form positive images of themselves as confident, successful people. She created specially designed resources to foster independence and a love of learning from an early age.

It soon became apparent that Dr. Montessori had developed a highly effective method of teaching which could be used with great success with every child. She began to travel the world, establishing schools, lecturing about her discoveries and writing many articles right up to her death in Holland in 1952 at the age of 82. She was a true pioneer of child-centred education. Her innovative classroom practices and ideas have had a profound influence on the education of young children all over the world.

Why do we use Montessori?

We use it because it is effective. Alongside other methods and techniques, it has a proven successful track record in the early years of child development in maximising each child’s own abilities. It provides a very solid foundation and academic base for children at the start of their school life. Many independent schools have successfully incorporated Montessori methods into their delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.