What is Montessori Education?

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Montessori is a philosophy of human development and education that believes the child learns best within a social environment which supports each individual's unique development.

Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952), based her philosophy on her scientific observations of young children's behavior. Montessori was the first woman physician to graduate from the University of Rome, and the phenomenal results of her work with children won her a Nobel Prize nomination and worldwide acclaim for her methods. Currently, Montessori schools flourish around the world, in public, parochial and independent school settings.

The Montessori method has been successfully developing the intellectual, physical, creative, emotional and social skills of children since the turn of the century. Under the close guidance of Montessori-trained teachers, children gain self-confidence, responsibility, independence and inner discipline in a trusting and non-competitive atmosphere.

Montessori programs, based on self-directed, non-competitive activities, help develop:

  • positive self-image and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism and adaptability
  • the ability to work independently and in groups
  • the capability to problem-solve, make choices and manage time well
  • the ability to exchange ideas and discuss work freely with others

Montessori Education

Traditional Education

Emphasis on cognitive and social development Emphasis on social development
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom Teacher is center of classroom as controller
Environment and method encourage self-discipline Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline.
Mixed age grouping Same age grouping.
Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other Most teaching done by teacher.
Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials. Child is guided to concepts by teacher.
Child sets own learning pace. Instruction pace set by group norm.
Child chooses own work. Curriculum structured for the child.
Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process Voluntary parent involvemen

(excerpted from publications provided by American Montessori Society and from Montessori online)

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