Montessori Education

Montessori Education

The Montessori Method of Education, developed by Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children. Montessori's method has been used for over 100 years in many parts of the world.

The Montessori method views the child as the one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It attempts to develop children physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.

Although a range of practices exist under the name "Montessori", the Association Montessori Internationale and the American Montessori Society cite these elements as essential:

  • Mixed age classrooms.

  • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options.

  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours.

  • "Discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction.

  • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators often made out of natural, aesthetic materials such as wood, rather than plastic.

  • A thoughtfully prepared environment where materials are organized by subject area, within reach of the child, and are appropriate in size.

  • Freedom within limits.

  • A trained Montessori teacher who follows the child and is highly experienced in observing the individual child's characteristics, tendencies, innate talents and abilities.

Education Theory:
Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic principles. First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments. Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development. Based on her observations, Montessori believed that children who are at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared according to her model would act spontaneously for optimal development.