top of page

What Montessori Tells Us


Montessori education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, is a unique educational approach that focuses on individualized learning and the holistic development of a child. At its core, Montessori education emphasizes the natural development of children, supporting their natural curiosity and inclination to learn. This method stands out for its distinctive classroom environment, which is carefully designed to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. The classrooms are equipped with specially designed, age-appropriate materials that promote hands-on learning and discovery.


In Montessori classrooms, children are grouped in mixed-age cohorts, typically spanning three years. This setup fosters a community-like atmosphere where children can learn from and support each other. Older children often mentor younger ones, reinforcing their understanding and fostering a sense of responsibility and community. The role of the teacher in a Montessori setting is more of a guide or facilitator rather than a traditional instructor. Teachers observe each child and provide individualized guidance that aligns with their developmental stage and interests. This personalized approach allows children to progress at their own pace, exploring subjects that captivate their interests and satisfy their innate desire for knowledge.


One of the key principles of Montessori education is its emphasis on "learning by doing." The curriculum is hands-on and experiential, encouraging children to engage with materials and activities that develop their sensory, motor, and cognitive skills. Practical life activities, such as dressing themselves, preparing snacks, or caring for plants, are integral to the curriculum. These activities not only teach practical skills but also instill a sense of independence and self-reliance. Academic subjects are approached in a way that interconnects with real-life experiences, making learning relevant and meaningful. For instance, mathematics is taught using tangible materials that children can manipulate, allowing them to internalize abstract concepts through concrete experiences.


Montessori education also places a strong emphasis on respect for the child. Children are given the freedom to choose their activities and work at their own pace, fostering a sense of autonomy and self-discipline. The classroom environment is calm, structured, and respectful, creating a safe space for children to explore and learn. This respect extends to the interactions between teachers and students, where each child’s thoughts and opinions are valued, promoting a culture of mutual respect and understanding.


The impact of Montessori education extends beyond academic achievement. It nurtures the development of the child as a whole – social, emotional, physical, and cognitive. Montessori students often exhibit high levels of independence, problem-solving skills, and social maturity. They are known to develop a love for learning, a strong sense of self, and the ability to think critically and work collaboratively. These qualities not only contribute to their success in school but also prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the real world.


In conclusion, Montessori education offers a child-centered approach that is distinct in its methods and philosophy. Its focus on individualized learning, hands-on experiences, and a respectful, nurturing environment aligns closely with the natural developmental needs of children. By fostering independence, curiosity, and a deep love for learning, Montessori education equips children with the skills and attributes necessary for success in all areas of life. As education continues to evolve, the Montessori approach remains relevant and influential, inspiring a holistic and meaningful approach to educating future generations.



References

Lillard, A., & Else-Quest, N. (2006). The early years. Evaluating Montessori education. Science (New York, N.Y.), 313(5795), 1893–1894. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1132362 


Marshall C. (2017). Montessori education: a review of the evidence base. NPJ science of learning, 2, 11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-017-0012-7


Montessori, M. (1995). The absorbent mind. New York, Henry Holt.


Montessori, Maria. (1973). From childhood to adolescence: including "Erdkinder" and the “functions of the university”. First published 1948 in German. The following editions are currently in print: 1996, Oxford, England: Clio Press (Trans. A.M. Joosten); Madras, India: Kalakshetra.





Comments


bottom of page