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Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian educator and physician who emphasized the importance of an environment that supports a young child's natural desire to learn. The "Montessori Method," as it came to be known, sees the teacher not as the director in control of the classroom, but rather as an individual guide to each student who determines the pace of their own learning experiences.
Montessori saw psychological development proceeding through a sequence of developmental stages and noted sensitive periods for learning particular skills. She used the environment, developing child-sized furniture and age-appropriate materials, to provide structure to the child's experiences.
Her desire was to free the child to experience the joy of learning and her creative efforts succeed in providing a stimulating environment for the development of skills and knowledge.