(Extract from „Profil der Montessori-Pädagogik und ihrer Einrichtungen” (Profile of Montessori Pedagogy and its Institutions), worked out by Prof. Dr. Hans-Dietrich Raapke, University of Oldenburg, and the expert group “Theory” of the trainers’ conference (Dozentenkonferenz) of the German Montessori Association (Montessori-Vereinigung e.V.), as at 2003)
The Children’s House (Italian “casa dei bambini”) is a pre-school institution in analogy to the kindergarten. It constitutes the longest tradition (founded in 1907) and the most widespread institution of the Montessori Pedagogy.
In Children’s Houses, as basically in all other Montessori institutions, the integration of disabled children and adolescents is considered an important issue. For this, the children’s individual ways of learning and working have turned out to be highly suitable.
Didactical aspects are represented mainly in the “prepared environment”. The educational interventions focus on the introduction of the use and purpose of the individual materials and are generally given to every single child separately.
In the Children’s House, the unconscious, ‘absorbed’ impressions of the early childhood should be translated into conscious work by the child’s increasingly independent activity. The child should be enabled to expand its range of activity and should get used to extended social relations in the group (cf. Steenberg, Ulrich: Montessori-Pädagogik im Kindergarten, Freiburg 2007).
The Children’s House and the school are closely connected with each other in an institutional context. In ideal circumstances (cf. the eight-year Basisschool in the Netherlands) there is a continuous educational career from the third to the twelfth year.