The Montessori Method

The following discusses key Montessori concepts, Montessori teacher education, and the characteristics of a Montessori classroom.

The American Montessori Society is committed to promoting quality Montessori education for all children from birth to 18 years based on these key concepts:

  • The aim of Montessori education is to foster competent, responsible, adaptive citizens who are lifelong learners and problem solvers.
  • Learning occurs in an inquiring, cooperative, nurturing atmosphere. Students increase their own knowledge through self- and teacher-initiated experiences.
  • Learning takes place through the senses. Students learn by manipulating materials and interacting with others. These meaningful experiences are precursors to the abstract understanding of ideas.
  • The individual is considered as a whole. The physical, emotional, social, aesthetic, spiritual, and cognitive needs and interests are inseparable and equally important.
  • Respect and caring attitudes for oneself, others, the environment, and all life are necessary.

The Montessori teacher is educated in these areas:

  • Human growth and development.
  • Observational skills to match students’ developmental needs with materials and activities, allowing the teacher to guide students in creating their individual learning plan.
  • An open-ended array of suggested learning materials and activities that empower teachers to design their own developmentally responsive, culturally relevant learning environment.
  • Teaching strategies that support and facilitate the unique and total growth of each individual.
  • Classroom leadership skills that foster a nurturing environment that is physically and psychologically supportive of learning.

A Montessori classroom must have these basic characteristics at all levels:

  • Teachers educated in the Montessori philosophy and methodology appropriate to the age level they are teaching, who have the ability and dedication to put the key concepts into practice.
  • A partnership with the family – the family is considered an integral part of the individual’s total physical, intellectual, creative and social independence.
  • A schedule that allows large blocks of uninterrupted time to problem solve, to see the interdisciplinary connection of knowledge, and to create new ideas.
  • A classroom atmosphere that encourages social interaction for cooperative learning, peer teaching, and emotional development.