the Montessori Method

An excitement about learning and life…

Nurturing a child’s creativity, curiosity and intelligence…

An environment that reinforces self-respect, respect for others, a love of learning

and self-discipline…

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

This is the Montessori method.

The “Montessori method” was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, who based her approach on extensive observations of young children through phases of development and learning.

The Montessori approach is based on the fact that young children are motivated to learn by a natural curiosity and love of knowledge.

To nurture this curiosity, inner motivation, and natural love of learning, a Montessori education is characterized by two traits:

*allowing the child to learn by choice, from materials he selects that correspond to his interests and readiness

*encouraging development of his natural tools for learning through hands on materials and experiences

The role of the teacher, then, is to guide and facilitate those experiences rather than present content she has selected.

The teacher prepares and maintains the environment, which includes carefully selecting “intriguing and developmentally appropriate learning activities to meet the needs and interests of the child”[1] Then she allows the child to engage in those experiences for as long as he is interested.

Of crucial importance in a Montessori education is The Prepared Environment.

  • Utilizes furniture and materials that are child sized. Low shelves put everything within the child’s reach while small chairs and tables make long work periods comfortable and small tools such as broom and dustpan or pitcher allow a child to complete tasks successfully.
  • Invites the child to use all his senses to investigate his surroundings.
  • Full of materials he can handle, or manipulate with his hands. The materials focus a child’s attention and concentration while he is naturally absorbing information.
  • Emphasizes a love and care for the natural world.
  • Relies on self-discovery, which children quickly find to be an exciting and rewarding experience, which in turn makes the child further motivated to continue exploring, to keep learning.
  • Facilitates a child’s independence.
  • Carefully prepared, to develop intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities, and encourage children to develop their own capabilities.

The Learning Environment is the child’s domain.

For almost a century, Montessori classrooms have proven to develop work habits and skills in children that help them concentrate effectively, work more efficiently and observe more carefully. More importantly, Montessori teaches children how to live peacefully with other human beings, be at peace with oneself, be independent and secure.

Who wouldn’t want that for their child?

Still unsure? Check out this video, a parent’s perspective on the power of the Montessori method:

[1] Tomorrow’s Child Magazine, Fall 2003


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