What is Montessori? - Montessori School of Rome (2023)

WHAT IS THE MONTESSORI METHOD?

This system of education is both a philosophy of child development and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is based on the child’s developmental needs for freedom within limits, as well as a carefully prepared environment, which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences. Through this, the child develops intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities. It is designed to take full advantage of the child’s desire to learn and his unique ability to develop his own capabilities. The child needs adults to expose him to the possibilities of his life, but the child must determine his response to those possibilities.

The main premises of Montessori education are:

  • Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other
  • The child possesses an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to absorb and learn from his environment that are unlike those of the adult both in quality and capacity
  • The most important years of a child’s growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level

The child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He works, however, not as an adult for completion of a job, but the sake of an activity itself. It is this activity which enables him to accomplish his most important goal: the development of himself – his mental, physical, and psychological powers.

WHAT MAKES MONTESSORI EDUCATION UNIQUE

The Whole Child Approach – The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach his full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation for future intellectual academic endeavors. The holistic curriculum, under the direction of a specifically prepared teacher, allows the child to experience the joy of learning, the time to enjoy the process, and ensures the development of self-esteem. It provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.

(Video) Montessori School Education

The Prepared Environment

In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment – classroom, materials, and social setting / atmosphere – must be supportive of the child. The teacher provides the necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive environment. Together, the teacher and child form a relationship based on trust and respect that fosters self-confidence and a willingness to try new things.

The Montessori Materials

Dr. Montessori’s observations of the kinds of things which children enjoy, and go back to repeatedly, led her to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials to facilitate learning.

The Teacher

Originally called a “directress”, the Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth. The teacher facilitates learning. Extensive training is required, and is specialized for the age group with which a teacher will work, i.e. infant and toddler, pre-primary, or elementary level.

(Video) Teacher of the Unteachable: The life and method of Maria Montessori

BENEFITS OF THE MONTESSORI METHOD

Maria Montessori saw much need for reform in the educational system of her day, just as we see the same need for reform in our educational system today. Her goal was to develop the whole personality of the child, and her system is based on a strong belief in the spontaneous working of the human intellect. Her three primary principles are observation, individual liberty, and preparation of the environment. These principles and their various practical expressions with children are gradually becoming part of our educational system. Modern kindergarten classrooms use the child-sized furniture and didactic materials first introduced by Montessori. Such current concepts as individualized learning and readiness programs, manipulative learning, ungraded classes, combined age groups, team teaching, and open classrooms reflect many of her early insights.

Parents of young children want to feel safe and secure in leaving their children in an environment that provides for all of their academic, social and emotional needs. A Montessori environment does meet all of the above needs, but it also teaches children an “I can do it” attitude that will ensure their future success in all aspects of their life. Below are some characteristics and benefits of the Montessori method:

  • Three year age span of children within the classroom – Older children teaching younger children, sense of community, builds self-esteem.
  • Self-correcting materials within the environment – Children learn through their own errors to make the correct decision versus having the teacher point it out to them.
  • Individual learning takes place within the environment – Montessori recognizes that each child learns at a different pace and allows that growth to take place.
  • Children are quiet by choice and out of respect for others within the environment – The Montessori classroom allows children to return to the “inner peace” that is a natural part of their personalities.
  • There is an emphasis on concrete learning rather than on abstract learning – Children need to experience concepts in concrete “hands on” ways.
  • It is a child centered environment – All the materials are easily within the child’s reach, placed on shelves at their levels. The tables and chairs are small enough for the children to sit comfortably while the pictures and decorations are placed at the children’s eye level.
  • The children work for the joy of working and the sense of discovery – Children are natural leaders or “sponges” and delight in learning new tasks. Their interests lie in the work itself rather than in the end product.
  • The environment provides a natural sense of discipline – The “ground rules” or expectations of the child are clearly stated and are enforced by the children and the teachers.
  • The environment is “prepared” for the children – Everything in the room has a specific place on the shelf. Children are orderly by nature and having the room set this way allows them to grow in a very positive way.
  • The teacher plays a very unobtrusive role in the classroom – The children are not motivated by the teacher, but by the need for self-development.

The items found on the shelves in the classroom are “materials” rather than “toys.” The children “work with the materials” rather than “play with the toys.” This allows the children to gain the most benefit from the environment by giving them a sense of worth – the same sense of worth adults experience as they go to their jobs and do their “work”.

(Video) MONTESSORI AT HOME: What Is Montessori? (& Why Do It?)

THE COMMUNITY OF CHILDREN

An essential part of the learning environment is the other children in it. The Montessori classroom provides ample opportunities for making friends, interacting with others, developing consideration for others, learning how to cooperate and fostering a sense of interdependence.

Community of Learners

In the prepared environment, cooperation and a sense of community are stressed. Individual differences are easily accepted and appreciated while each child is treated and taught as an individual. Children of different ages are together in the same group. This provides abundant opportunities for learning and helps to create a sense of family while everyone contributes and takes responsibility for the functioning and maintenance of the environment.

Leadership

Because of the multi-aged group, the classroom has a heritage. The older children provide leadership and guidance, and act as models for the younger children. The older children also benefit by helping younger children, which reinforces previous skills and knowledge, and provides the satisfaction of helping others. The mix of ages also provides opportunities for a variety of safe, lasting, and meaningful friendships.

(Video) What is Montessori Education | How to differentiate Montessori Education vs Traditional Education

Social Development

The social life of the children is a vital aspect of the Montessori classroom and curriculum. Assisting the social skills, development, and abilities of children is vital to the implementation of an effective Montessori program. It is important that the complexities of relationships are supported and enhanced by adults sensitive to the needs and social development of children.

Famous attendees of Montessori education:

  • Joshua Bell, American violinist
  • Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com
  • David Blaine, magician
  • Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google
  • Julia Child, author and television chef
  • Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton
  • George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor
  • Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, music performer/producer
  • Dakota Fanning, Academy Award nominated actress
  • Anne Frank, World War II diarist
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for literature
  • Melissa Gilbert, actress
  • Katherine Graham, owner-editor of The Washington Post
  • Helen Hunt, Academy Award-winning actress
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former First Lady and author
  • Prince William and Prince Harry, English Royal Family
  • Lea Salonga, multi-awarded singer and Broadway actress
  • Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia
  • Will Wright, designer of The Sim video games

(Video) What is Montessori?

FAQs

What is the main purpose of Montessori? ›

What Is Montessori? Montessori is an education philosophy and practice that fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development, with a goal of nurturing each child's natural desire for knowledge, understanding, and respect.

Is Montessori used in Italy? ›

Italian Early Childhood Education Approaches: Montessori and Reggio Emilia. Europe has been a rich source of many influential educational ideas. In elementary and early childhood education, two of the best-known approaches with European origins are Montessori, and Reggio Emilia.

Why did Montessori leave Italy? ›

Maria's situation became worse in 1931 when she flat out refused to order her teachers to take the fascist loyalty oath. Furious, Mussolini closed the Montessori schools in Italy, forcing Maria to flee Italy in 1934 to escape political surveillance and harassment.

What is the Montessori method of teaching? ›

Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process.

What type of child is Montessori good for? ›

Kids with special needs, such as learning or physical disabilities, often thrive in a Montessori setting. 3 Materials used in Montessori settings engage all the senses. Students are free to move about the classroom, which is an advantage for those children who require a lot of physical activity.

Does Montessori teach Christianity? ›

The Montessori approach to education and care has at its centre love for all people no matter the faith or creed by which one lives.

What is the difference between regular school and Montessori? ›

In a public school, the teacher directs the subject and the task to be completed for every child in the classroom. In a Montessori school, the children choose the task they wish to work on, provoked by their natural curiosity in an environment specially prepared for their intellectual development.

How does Montessori punish? ›

Instead, Montessori discipline is about cultivating the child's own self-discipline, as it springs from the children themselves. The child learns from you the correct way to behave, and they learn why, primarily through natural consequences, not punishment.

What are the five stages of school in Italy? ›

The education system in Italy is divided into five main levels: preschool, primary school, lower secondary school, upper secondary school, and university.

What are the five principles of the Montessori method? ›

According to Montessori theory, there are five categories of milestones that children experience during these 6 years: order, language, sensory skills, movement, and social skills, respectively.

What is kindergarten called in Italy? ›

Education in Italy is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age, and is divided into five stages: kindergarten (scuola dell'infanzia), primary school (scuola primaria or scuola elementare), lower secondary school (scuola secondaria di primo grado or scuola media inferiore), upper secondary school (scuola secondaria di ...

What is so special about Montessori? ›

Montessori preschools focus on child-centered learning. By emphasizing the development of the child's intellectual, physical, moral, social and emotional development, Montessori schools help children become independent thinkers with a lifelong love of learning.

What are the 3 most important principles of Montessori education? ›

Amongst British parents, the Montessori method is one of the more widely-known 'alternative' educational pedagogies, and is used in over 22,000 schools worldwide.
  • Principle 1: Respect for the Child. ...
  • Principle 2: The Absorbent Mind. ...
  • Principle 3: Sensitive Periods. ...
  • Principle 4: The Prepared Environment.

Is Montessori school religious? ›

Montessori education is not inherently religious and does not, in itself, provide any form of religious instruction. However, it does purposefully encourage exploration, enjoyment and respect for all forms of human spirituality.

What is the best age to start Montessori? ›

The best time to enroll your child into a Montessori school is between the ages of 2.5 and 6 years old, when they are most sensitive to the world around them. During this time, children master a wide set of skills while pursuing their interests. So start looking for a Montessori school sooner than later!

Why do parents choose Montessori? ›

Choosing a Montessori environment for your child has many benefits. Known for individually paced learning and fostering independence, the Montessori Method also encourages empathy, a passion for social justice, and a joy in lifelong learning.

How is Montessori different than daycare? ›

Montessori education takes a holistic approach: social, emotional, and physical development alongside academic success. Daycare centers, on the other hand, may prioritize a certain area of development, such as academic advancement, while disregarding other areas entirely.

Are Montessori kids more successful? ›

The 70 students who went to the Montessori schools advanced more rapidly on math and literacy tests over the next three years. At the end of kindergarten, when this study ended, the Montessori kids had significantly higher achievement.

Are Montessori kids happier? ›

After surveying nearly 2,000 people, the researchers found that former Montessori students scored higher in all 18 measures of psychological well-being related to general well-being, engagement, social trust, and self-confidence.

Are Montessori children happier? ›

The new study has found that children who attend Montessori schools often have greater well-being and happiness in adulthood.

Is Jeff Bezos a Montessori? ›

Montessori Alum

Jeff Bezos attended a Montessori school in Albuquerque, New Mexico when he was young, and later graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1986.

Does Montessori believe in homework? ›

Montessori Schools do not typically assign daily homework. Dr. Montessori believed that if we do not dictate the work of the child in class, then it does not make sense to dictate the work they choose at home. Therefore, traditional homework is kept to a minimum.

Who is best suited for Montessori school? ›

1. Different learning types. I've found that Montessori is suitable for all children. The materials offer opportunities to learn visually, aurally, kinaesthetically (through touch) and verbally, and thus easily accessible to children who learn in different ways.

Why is Montessori school so popular? ›

Student-Focused Learning: The Montessori approach nurtures a child's social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. There's more of a focus on the whole student, rather than pinpointing one aspect of the child's learning journey.

Why Montessori education is better than traditional education? ›

It allows children to learn at their own pace and in a self-directed manner. Montessori also recognizes that children do not all learn in the same manner. So, lessons and activities are tailored to the needs of each child's developmental stage and academic abilities.

What are the two types of Montessori? ›

In the following report, Hanover Research compares two prominent models of Montessori education in the United States: the Association Montessori Internationale and the American Montessori Society.

Did Bill Gates go to Montessori? ›

Bill Gates attended Montessori in his early years.

How are children treated in Montessori? ›

Discipline: Four Tips from the Montessori Perspective
  1. Use clear language to emphasize causality. For example, use if-then phrasing.
  2. Help the child consider the natural consequences of various choices.
  3. Permit maximum freedom within a range of choices.
  4. Validate a child's emotions.

Why don't you say good job in Montessori? ›

In the Montessori classroom, guides don't say “Good Job” to the children. This is done specifically to avoid placing judgment on a child's work. As educators it is our hope that children do not spend a lot of time, whether in the Montessori classroom or at home, in search of an adult's praise.

At what age do children in Italy start school? ›

At the age of six, children begin their formal education at scuola primaria. Secondary education, known as scuola secondaria, is divided into two sub-levels. From the age of 11 to 14, children attend scuola secondaria di primo grado and proceed to scuola secondaria di secondo grado until they are 19.

Do children do homework every night in Italy? ›

Does your kid constantly complain about hours and hours of homework? If you're Italian, it could reach fever-pitch! According to research conducted by the OECD, 15-year old children in Italy have to contend with just under 9 hours of homework every week, more than anywhere else in the world.

What is early childhood education like in Italy? ›

In Italy, every preschool includes some Montessori and Reggio Emilia elements. Italian preschools are play based, children learn by doing in an informal setting in which communication and verbal exchange is encouraged. The focus is on social skills and emotional development in order to develop the whole child.

What are Montessori activities? ›

Some common Montessori hands-on tasks include:
  • Pouring and scooping.
  • Watering flowers.
  • Ironing.
  • Opening bottle caps.
  • Washing clothes.
  • Gluing paper.
  • Sweeping.
  • Washing a window.
5 Apr 2017

What is Montessori daily routine? ›

Daily routines provide a consistent pattern of activities for learning time, meals, rest, and outdoor play. The predictability of the routine helps children to feel secure and positively influences their emotional, cognitive, and social development.

What are the 9 senses in Montessori? ›

So our nine main senses are:
  • Vision.
  • Hearing.
  • Smell.
  • Taste.
  • Touch.
  • Balance.
  • Proprioception (body awareness)
  • Temperature.
5 Jul 2015

Is kindergarten and Montessori same? ›

Structure of education: Kindergarten is a more structured education system where the role of a teacher is pre-defined and they follow the same technique for all students. The Montessori style uses an unstructured approach where each student is allowed to express themselves and the teacher adapts to the students style.

Where does Italy rank in education? ›

World education ranking
Country NameReading scoreScience score
Italy486489
Latvia484494
Slovenia483512
Greece483470
63 more rows
7 Dec 2010

What is preschool called in Italy? ›

Let's start by looking at Preschools, i.e. ,Day Nursery (Asilo Nido in Italy) – 0 to 3 years – and Kindergarten (Scuola Materna) -2.5 to 6 years.

What is Montessori in simple words? ›

Montessori is a scientifically based education approach that emphasises independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's natural psychological, physical, and social development. It was developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori.

What are the four pillars of Montessori? ›

Four conceptual pillars of the MM—the sensitive periods, the education of the senses, the prepared environment, and spontaneous activities through repetition—are discussed.

What is an example of the Montessori method? ›

In a Montessori school classroom, movement is built into the work and into the lessons so that children do not spend long periods of time sitting still. For example, the work of “Golden Beads” requires that students make multiple trips to the “bank” to fetch the golden beads that they need to do their math problem.

Why is it called Montessori school? ›

The Montessori Method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. It's a specific child-centered method of education that involves child-led activities (referred to as “work”), classrooms with children of varying ages and teachers who encourage independence among their pupils.

What are the 5 principles of Montessori? ›

According to Montessori theory, there are five categories of milestones that children experience during these 6 years: order, language, sensory skills, movement, and social skills, respectively.

What are the three most important principles of Montessori education? ›

Montessori is a scientifically based education approach that emphasises independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's natural psychological, physical, and social development.

What makes Montessori so special? ›

A Montessori education allows children to experience the state of “flow” and develop the skill of concentration through uninterrupted blocks of work time, multi-age classrooms and child-directed work.

Are Montessori schools religious? ›

Montessori education is not inherently religious and does not, in itself, provide any form of religious instruction. However, it does purposefully encourage exploration, enjoyment and respect for all forms of human spirituality.

What is the best age for Montessori? ›

The best time to enroll your child into a Montessori school is between the ages of 2.5 and 6 years old, when they are most sensitive to the world around them. During this time, children master a wide set of skills while pursuing their interests. So start looking for a Montessori school sooner than later!

What is the difference between a Montessori school and regular school? ›

In traditional classrooms, students follow the same lessons — leaving some children behind while others pull ahead. In Montessori classrooms, students challenge themselves when they're ready, developing greater self-sufficiency and personal independence, and building an internal sense of purpose and motivation.

How is Montessori different from daycare? ›

Montessori education takes a holistic approach: social, emotional, and physical development alongside academic success. Daycare centers, on the other hand, may prioritize a certain area of development, such as academic advancement, while disregarding other areas entirely.

How is a Montessori school different from public school? ›

In a public school, the teacher directs the subject and the task to be completed for every child in the classroom. In a Montessori school, the children choose the task they wish to work on, provoked by their natural curiosity in an environment specially prepared for their intellectual development.

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