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Important women in the early childhood world*

Important women in the early childhood world*

Maria Montessori: The pioneer of Montessori education

Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor and educator, revolutionised early childhood education. After studying medicine, she dedicated herself to child development and developed the Montessori method, a teaching method based on independence and experience-based learning. Montessori recognised that children learn best when they can explore their environment independently. Her method emphasises the importance of a prepared environment and materials that stimulate the senses and encourage independent learning.

Core principles of Montessori education

The Montessori method is based on several central principles:

  • Independence: Children should be able to complete their tasks and make decisions independently.
  • Freedom: Children have the freedom to choose their activities and work at their own pace.
  • Sensory learning: Learning through the senses and practical applications is at the forefront.
  • Environment: A prepared environment optimally supports the child's development.
  • Respect for the child: Every child is respected as an individual being with their own needs and abilities.
  • Maria Montessori founded the first children's home, the "Casa dei Bambini", in Rome. Today, her methods and materials are known worldwide and are firmly established in many educational institutions.

Marie Meierhofer: Pioneer of paediatrics

Marie Meierhofer, a Swiss paediatrician, is known for her work in the field of child psychology and developmental education. She researched the basic psychological needs of young children and coined the term "mental hygiene in childhood". Her work emphasised the importance of the right upbringing and environment for the healthy development of children's personalities.

Contribution to early childhood development

Meierhofer focussed on:

Life circumstances: research into the influences on the early childhood psyche and development

Promoting development: emphasising a harmonious and supportive environment.

Foundation of the Marie Meierhofer Institute for the Child: an institute dedicated to the training and further education of educational professionals.

Marie Meierhofer founded the Pestalozzi Children's Village in 1946 and was also committed to helping children injured in the war. Her work contributed significantly to the development of modern educational methods.

Emmi Pikler: Promoting motor development

Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian paediatrician, specialised in the motor development of young children. Her research showed that children have natural abilities from birth that can be developed without external guidance. Pikler founded the Lóczy Infant Centre, where she developed and implemented her care method for children who could not grow up with their families.

Pikler pedagogy

The Pikler pedagogy emphasises:

Freedom of movement: Children should be able to move freely and develop their motor skills independently.

Safe environment: Creating an environment that offers both freedom of movement and safety.

Observation and reflection: Teachers and parents should observe and reflect on children's development in order to better understand and support their needs.

Pikler's approach has influenced the care and education of young children worldwide and emphasises the importance of motor development for the child's overall development.

Other important personalities and methods

In addition to Montessori, Meierhofer and Pikler, there are many other women who have had a significant influence on early childhood education and development. Their methods and insights characterise modern education and support the development of children into independent and responsible individuals.

Maria Aarts: Developer of the Marte Meo method

Maria Aarts, a Dutch educator, developed the Marte Meo method, which is based on analysing video recordings. This method supports parents and educators in recognising children's developmental steps and providing targeted support. The Marte Meo method emphasises the importance of self-confidence and self-discovery and is used in various educational institutions around the world.

Encouragement through Montessori toys

Montessori toys are specially designed to promote independence and learning through experience. Such materials support the development of fine motor skills, cognitive abilities and sensory perception. They offer children the opportunity to explore and understand their environment independently.

For a selection of Montessori toys and other educational materials, visit the following categories:

Climbing walls

Indoor playground

These categories offer a variety of materials specifically designed to encourage children's development and independence. By giving children the freedom to choose their own activities and learn at their own pace, they develop important skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

The work of these remarkable women and the application of their methods have permanently changed and improved early childhood education. Their insights and approaches are still relevant today and provide valuable guidance for parents and educators who want to support children's development and well-being.

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