The Montessori Methodology

Whole child education: help the child to develop naturally in the family, school and society.

Dr. María Montessori

"Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create."

The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational 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 an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child — physical, social, emotional, cognitive and a view of the child who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment.

  • The environment 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 and/or guidance is needed.
  • Multiage groupings are a hallmark of the Montessori Method: younger children learn from older children; older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered.

Dr. Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods as they grow. Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods when learning is most naturally absorbed and internalised.

Benefits of Montessori Education

Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognises that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Children are free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualised learning plan.

  • Children develop order, coordination, concentration and independence.
  • Children are part of a caring community that models empathy, compassion, and acceptance of individual differences.
  • Montessori children enjoy freedom within limits.
  • Children 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. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, recognising, correcting and learning from their errors.

Classroom Design

The design and flow of the Montessori classroom creates a learning environment that accommodates choice.

There are spaces for group activity, and areas where a child can settle in alone. Children work at tables or on the floor, rolling out mats on which to work and define their work space.

There are spaces for each part of the curriculum: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Arts, Math, and Culture. Each of these areas features shelves or display tables with a variety of inviting materials from which students can choose.

Many classrooms have an area devoted to peace and reflection. And always there are places to read books.

Above all, each classroom is warm, well-organised, and inviting, with couches, rugs, and flowers to help children and youth feel calm and at home.

Montessori Learning Materials

Montessori education is a hands-on approach to learning. Students work with specially designed materials, manipulating and investigating until they master the lesson.

Beautifully crafted and begging to be touched, Montessori’s distinctive learning materials are displayed on open, easily accessible shelves. They are arranged left to right and in order of their sequence in the curriculum, from the simplest to the most complex.

Each material teaches a single skill or concept at a time — for example, "dressing frames" help children learn to button, zip, and tie.

Built into many of the materials is a mechanism ("control of error") for providing the student with some way of assessing her progress and correcting her mistakes, independent of the teacher.

The Teacher as “Guide”

Montessori education addresses the whole child: his physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. As well as helping each child become an independent learner, the teacher helps turn his attention outward, fostering community, collaboration and respect for others.

Teachers educated in the Montessori Method bring distinctive skills to the task. Their quiet orchestrations lead to magical moments as young children exclaim "I learned it myself!"

Called a "directress" by Montessori Method founder Dr. Maria Montessori, and sometimes known as a "guide", the Montessori teacher plays many roles as she directs, or guides, her students:

Skilled Observer:

Through careful observation, the Montessori teacher comes to know each student’s interests, learning style, and temperament. He understands the student’s developmental needs, and is receptive to her “sensitive periods,” when she is most ready to learn a new concept or skill.

With this information the teacher chooses materials and lessons that will capture the student’s attention and entice her to learn. When he observes that the student has mastered a concept or skill, he introduces new lessons that become increasingly complex and abstract.

Creative Facilitator:

She offers encouragement, shares their triumphs and helps them advance through the curriculum as they master new skills, so they are continually challenged and eager to learn.
As children progress, the teacher modifies the classroom environment, adjusting the learning materials to meet the students' changing needs.

Character Builder:

A Montessori class is a close-knit community, fertile ground for nurturing the qualities that help children become citizens of the world.

By her own behaviour and attitudes, the teacher models values such as empathy, compassion, and acceptance of individual differences. She encourages the students to be courteous and kind. And she brings students together in collaborative activities to foster teamwork, responsibility, self-discipline, and respect.