What is Montessori education? For more than a century now, the child-focused approach that Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, developed for educating children has been transforming schools around the globe. As soon as you enter a classroom, you know that something different is afoot. Montessori classrooms are immediately recognizable. You will see children working independently and in groups, often with specially designed learning materials; deeply engaged in their work; and respectful of themselves and their surroundings. The Montessori Method fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development—cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.
Montessori education is student-led and self-paced but guided, assessed, and enriched by knowledgeable and caring teachers, the leadership of their peers, and a nurturing environment. Within the community of a multi-age classroom—designed to create natural opportunities for independence, citizenship, and accountability—children embrace multi-sensory learning and passionate inquiry. Individual students follow their own curiosity at their own pace, taking the time they need to fully understand each concept and meet individualized learning goals. Given the freedom and support to question, probe deeply, and make connections, Montessori students grow up to be confident, enthusiastic, and self-directed learners and citizens, accountable to both themselves and their community. They think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly and with integrity. What better outcome could you wish for your children?
"When a child is given a little leeway, he will at once shout, ’I want to do it!’ But in our schools, which have an environment adapted to children’s needs, they say, ‘Help me to do it alone.’" DR. MARIA MONTESSORI, THE SECRET OF CHILDHOOD
Choosing a Montessori environment for your child has many benefits. Known for individually paced learning and fostering independence, the Montessori Method also encourages empathy, a passion for social justice, and a joy in lifelong learning. Given the freedom and support to question, to probe deeply, and to make connections, Montessori students become confident, enthusiastic, self-directed learners. They are able to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly—a skill set for the 21st century. How does this happen?
Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Students are free to learn at their own pace, each advancing as he is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualized learning plan.
Beginning at an early age, Montessori nurtures order, concentration, and independence.Intentional classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the student’s emerging “self-regulation” (the ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), in toddlers through adolescents.
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 peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits. Working within parameters set by their teachers and the classroom community, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be.
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. Internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime.
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 supports social-emotional skills. Contemporary research supports the 100-year-old Montessori Method's effectiveness, indicating that children who learn in Montessori classrooms demonstrate stronger social-emotional skills in many areas than children in more traditional environments.
In Their Own WordsParents share their thoughts on what makes Montessori special:
“I think that all children have an innate sense of wonder and curiosity…Montessori encourages and expands upon that.” “All children are different. They have a different outlook, a different spirit. Montessori caters to those differences.” “Students develop leadership skills, find their own way.” “Montessori gave [my children] a foundation for all of their academic achievement.” “Montessori is life preparation.