Montessori and Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences Montessori Life
Although working in different cultures and different times, Montessori and Gardner came to many of the same conclusions regarding human development. First, both Montessori and Gardner derived their theories based upon daily, firsthand observation and experience working with people, both normal and with exceptionalities. Montessori worked first with retarded, then urban, deprived children. Gardner focused his attention upon adults with various forms of brain damage, as well as normal and gifted children. These experiences enabled them both to understand and appreciate the wide range of abilities and capacities found in human nature and to challenge rigid and narrow beliefs about human potential.
Second, as a result of their shared understanding and appreciation of human nature, both Montessori and Gardner noted the uniqueness of each individual. They observed that individual differences begin to be revealed in the earliest years of life, and that individual strengths in one area of ability do not necessarily ensure or predict strengths in other areas. Montessori writes, "little children soon reveal profound individual differences which call for very different kinds of help from the teacher" (1964, p. 23 1). Gardner ( 1997, 1999) states that in the area of intelligence, no two people have exactly the same intelligences, nor in the same combination, and that understanding and valuing these uniquenesses and differences and utilizing them for the benefit of society is of utmost importance. He states, in fact, that taking human differences seriously lies at the heart of Multiple Intelligence Theory.