About Montessori

"Within the child lies the fate of the future." --Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori

Who Was Maria Montessori?

Montessori education derives its name from Maria Montessori, a woman, who in many ways, was ahead of her time. She was born in Chiaravalle, Italy, in 1870 and became the first female physician in Italy when she graduated from medical school in 1896. The clinical observations she made during her medical practice led her to analyzing how children learn, how they build themselves from what they find in their immediate environment.

She accepted a challenge in 1906: to educate 60 children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was there that she founded the first Casa dei Bambini, or "Children's House," and developed what ultimately became the Montessori way of education. She saw the children's almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every lesson Dr. Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do "naturally" by themselves and unassisted by adults.

Children teach themselves. This simple but profound truth inspired Montessori's lifelong pursuit of educational reform. She tirelessly dedicated herself to furthering the self-creating process of the child.

In 1952, Maria Montessori died in Noordwijk, Holland, but her work continues. Today, there are close to 5,000 private and approximately 200 public Montessori schools in the United States alone, and Montessori schools exist on every continent except Antarctica.

Benefits of Montessori Education

Montessori education offers our children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life.

Each child is valued as a unique individual.

Each child is valued as a unique individual.

Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Students are also free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualized learning plan.
Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence.

Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence.

Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging “self-regulation” (ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), toddlers through adolescents.
Students are part of a close, caring community.

Students are part of a close, caring community.

The multi-age classroom—typically spanning 3 years—re-creates a family structure. Older students enjoy stature as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits.

Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits.

Working within parameters set by their teachers, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. Montessorians understand that internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime.
Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge.

Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge.

Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach

Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach

As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors.

Montessori vs. Traditional

Montessori

  • Emphasis on:  cognitive structures and social development
  • Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning
  • Environment and method encourage internal self-disclipine
  • Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to each student's learning style
  • Mixed age groupings
  • Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other
  • Child chooses own materials and work from interests and abilities
  • Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching materials (in the prepared environment)
  • Child works as long as she/he wishes on chosen project
  • Child sets own learning pace to internalize information
  • Child spots own errors through control of error or feedback from the material
  • Learning is reinforced internally through the child's own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success (often referred to as 'process over product')
  • Muti-sensory materials for physical exploration throughout the entire learning environment
  • Organized program for learning care of self and environment (Examples include:  preparation of food, mopping messy spills, feeding class animals, watering plants, etc.)
  • Child can work where she/he is comfortable, moves around and talks at will (yet disturbs not the work of others); group work is voluntary and negotiable
  • Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process

Traditional

  • Emphasis on:  rote knowledge and social development
  • Teacher has dominant, active role in classroom activity; child is a passive participant in learning
  • Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external disclipine
  • Instruction, both individual and group, conforms to the adult's teaching style
  • Same age groupings
  • Most teaching is done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged
  • Curriculum structured for child with little regard for child's interests
  • Child is guided and taught to concepts by teacher through assigned daily lessons
  • Child generally given specific time limit or time frame for work
  • Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher
  • If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher (as self-correction is typically absent)
  • Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards and discouragements or better known as behavior modification
  • Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation
  • Less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance leading to an environment maintained entirely by the adult
  • Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions which are typically not voluntary (group work and interaction is teacher controlled)
  • Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding and learning process
cta-logo

Help your child BECOME A

Confident, Enthusiastic, Self-Directed Learner

Connect with us

Curriculum

Resources

Instagram Feed