What is Montessori?
Montessori is an educational philosophy developed in the early 1900s by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician. It was her belief that children have a natural desire to learn, and with the right materials and structuring, school could be a place where children are self-directed learners, collaborators and problem-solvers.
Montessori children make creative and independent choices in discovering the people, places and knowledge of the world. There is an emphasis on hands-on, personalized learning, self-expression and citizenship in a carefully crafted school environment of respect, peace and joy.
The Eight Principles of Montessori Education
- Thinking and learning are enhanced by movement
- Learning and well-being are improved when we have a sense of control over our lives
- We learn best when we are interested in what we are learning
- Tying extrinsic rewards to an activity – like money for reading or high grades for tests – negatively impacts motivation to engage in that activity when the reward is withdrawn
- Children learn well from and with peers and respond well to collaborative learning situations
- Our learning is deeper and richer when learning is situated in meaningful contexts as opposed to abstract contexts
- Particular forms of adult interaction are associated with more optimal child outcomes
- Order, routine and ritual help children thrive
From Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius
The Montessori Experience
|Traditional Classroom||Montessori Environment|
|Textbooks, pencil and paper, worksheets and photocopies||Prepared kinesthetic materials with incorporated control of error, specially developed reference materials|
|Working and learning without emphasis on social development||Working and learning matched to the social development of the child|
|Narrow, unit-driven curriculum||Unified, internationally developed curriculum|
|Individual subjects||Integrated subjects and learning based on developmental psychology|
|Block time, period lessons||Uninterrupted work cycles|
|Single-graded classrooms||Multi-age classrooms|
|Students passive, quiet, in desks||Students active, talking, with periods of spontaneous quiet, freedom to move|
|Product-focused report cards||Process-focused assessment, skills checklists, mastery benchmarks|