Maria Montessori’s pedagogy is based on the recognition that neither genetically based growth nor verbal instructions alone cause the human mind to develop. Each child has to build the mental structures on his/her own. This happens due to the child’s interactive handling of the things in his/her environment: learning by doing.
Therefore it is important for children to absorb their impressions with all their senses, while being active with their hands. Thus the children build concepts and ideas. They process, order and classify them with their intellect.
This constructive activity promotes a harmonious, psychically healthy development and the best possible stimulation of the child’s intelligence. The child develops unusual abilities of concentration, stamina and joy for his/her activity. The child attains self-confidence, self-discipline and an immense pleasure in discovering things. For this Maria Montessori uses the expression “normalisation”.
In order to stimulate such a development, there has to be an appropriately prepared environment which offers orderliness and structures in space, time, activity and behaviour and follows the principle: “Help me do it by myself.” Incidentally, this is also true for infants and children with special needs who are in need of individual care.