I really never met Maria Montessori until I stumbled into her one day while absorbing massive amounts of information relating to the education of Wade.
I only wish I had met her years ago.
Science is just now beginning to document and verify what Maria learned 100 years ago from simply observing the way children learn best. She had no brain imaging, no way of seeing inside those little heads and yet she taught the children who were considered to be the unteachable and then applied her learning to all children everywhere. Brilliant.
I don't believe in rigid adherence to her pedagogy, but her methods can be applied anywhere there are children, parents, and teachers.
Practical life learning
Movement and balance awareness
Can you carry the bell without ringing it?
Can you balance the marble on the tee?
Hands-on learning and creating order by categorizing
Finding order through sequencing
Simplifying the variables
Early implementation of fine motor activities
(This picture, Wade says, is a robot holding his ears.)
Visuals, lots of visuals
This is a terrific way to teach odd and even numbers. Line up your counters (pennies, buttons, or whatever) two by two. For the odd ones, put the leftover counter at the bottom center. Then run your finger down the center column while saying odd or even for each number. On the odd numbers your finger has to stop before hitting the number because it runs into the penny. On the even numbers, your finger can continue down the path to the number. What a great illustration for visual learners!
Okay, okay, this is not Montessori!
But it could fall under the category of "prepared environment".
*Links to further reading concerning Montessori learning