Why Montessori?

“Education is not something the teacher does, but that is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”

– Maria Montessori

Introduction to Montessori

The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered, education approach, based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.  Dr. Montessori’s method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.

It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment.  It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child — physical, social, emotional, and cognitive.

Elements of a Montessori Classroom:

  • Multi-age classrooms (usually covering a 3-year span)
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time
  • Guided choice of work activity
  • Specially designed Montessori learning materials meticulously arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment.

The teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle.  The classroom is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order.  The child, through individual choice, makes use of what the environment offers to develop himself, interacting with the teacher when support or guidance is needed.  Multi-age groupings are a hallmark of the Montessori Method.  Younger children learn from older children, and older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered.  This arrangement also mirrors the real world, where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and dispositions.  Dr. Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, as the grow.  As their students develop, Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods when learning is most naturally absorbed and internalized.

In early childhood, Montessori students learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop their cognitive powers through direct experience: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and movement.

It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment.  It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child — physical, social, emotional, and cognitive.

Read more at the Association Montessori International www.montessori-ami.org.