How does Dr. Montessori’s view of children differ from traditional education?

Dr. Montessori felt that her greatest discovery was that children like to work as well as play. In fact, children have a natural drive to work in order to develop. A child’s great task is to become an adult. As a result, children are not content unless they have an opportunity to develop and learn.

Why are children of different ages and grades together in one class?

Mixed age groupings allows younger students to learn from older students. It also allows older students to begin practicing empathy and leadership while they interact with their young peers.

Montessori teachers teach to individuals instead of to groups and children learn from one another. In non-Montessori classrooms, lessons are often presented to the whole class. In Montessori schools it is reversed. Most of the time the teacher presents lessons to individuals. Other children can watch if they are interested. In this way, the teacher can address the specific needs of a child and can respond to that individual child’s interest and level of understanding. This individual attention also helps the teacher be much more familiar with the child, allowing the teacher to understand the child more fully and better provide for that child.

How is the process of learning different in a Montessori setting?

Montessori students learn through practicing tasks rather than through listening and memorization. The Montessori curriculum is very broad. There are exercises to develop the child’s basic capacities-his or her ability to control movement and to feel and have emotions. Both help the child become a competent learner. This method develops independence and responsibility. The curriculum also helps the child form a strong foundation in language and math and provides an in-depth study of physical and cultural geography, zoology, botany, physical science, history and art. Children learn practical life skills such as cooking, carpentry, and sewing which teaches them how to be contributing members of a social community.

Why do Montessori classrooms look they way they do?

Montessori classrooms use the organization of the room to encourage learning. Work is organized by subject and children are always free to move around the room and select their own work. There is no limit on the amount of time a child can spend working with materials.

The room is specifically organized to appear attractive and orderly, with all materials displayed on child-level shelves. The materials in a Montessori classroom are carefully designed and thoroughly researched to fit the developmental needs of children.

How is order maintained in a Montessori classroom?

Montessori teachers teach respect and positive values through modeling and instruction together. The Montessori Method helps a child by showing a child what to do in a positive manner, and teaches to build a child up through positive reinforcement, never through humiliation or embarrassment. Everything a child selects to do in the classroom is called “work.” It is a child’s job to learn and grow; giving this job the same respect as an adult’s profession is one of the most important ways Montessorians model respect and positive values.

Are all Montessori programs the same?

No. Ask what kind of training the teachers have. Parents should visit the school, observe the classrooms, and later ask the school’s director to explain the theory behind the activities you saw. Parents should also ask about teachers’ qualifications. Quality programs can be identified through accreditation verification from reputable organizations such as SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and AMS (American Montessori Society). If a teacher training center is recognized by MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) you can be certain that they adhere to the highest principled standards.