What is Montessori?

Montessori is a child-centered method of education that was pioneered more than 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori, a physician and educator. She observed that children learn best by doing, and her extensive research produced a teaching method that honors children’s social, intellectual, physical and emotional development.

 

The Montessori method recognizes that children are sensorial learners who are eager to find their place in the world.  Through carefully prepared materials, multi-age classrooms, and trained Montessori teachers, children are encouraged to exercise independence, practice grace and courtesy and realize their full learning potential. 

Within the carefully prepared Montessori environment, using specially crafted materials, children have the freedom to follow their innate curiosity and develop confidence, creativity, problem solving, and a lifelong love of learning. ​

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The Montessori Classroom

Below are some of the key differences between a Montessori classroom and a traditional classroom setting: 

Montessori  

Traditional

Learning through all 5 senses  
Learning through listening, watching or reading
Environment and method encourage self-discipline
Teacher is primary enforcer of discipline
Mixed age grouping; mainly individual instruction
Same age grouping; mainly group instruction
Child chooses own work
Curriculum chosen for child
Child works as long as she wishes on chosen material
Child allotted specific time for her work
Child sets own learning pace
Group norm sets learning pace
Child notices her own errors from feedback of material
Work is corrected by teacher who points out errors
Child works where he chooses, moves around and talks at will (so long as not disturbing others)
Child assigned to chair, required to participate and sit still for group lessons
Organized curriculum for learning to care for self and environment
No organized program, self-care instruction left primarily to parents
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom
Teacher is center of classroom
Values concentration and depth of experience; uninterrupted time for focused work cycle
Values completion of assignments; time is tightly scheduled
Children are encouraged to teach each other and collaborate
Most teaching is done by teacher​
Goal is to foster love of learning
Goal is to master core curricula objectives