What is Montessori?
The Montessori method is a child-centered approach to learning and development that celebrates and nurtures each child’s intrinsic desire to learn. Beginning at an early age, children in a Montessori environment develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging “self-regulation" (the ability to educate oneself and to be conscious of what one is learning). Between birth and age six, the Montessori method provides the individual child a solid foundation on which to build the self.
Key features of the Montessori classroom include specially-trained and accredited teachers, multi-age classes, child-centered learning spaces featuring Montessori materials, and uninterrupted "work" periods when children select and engage in independent learning activities.
The child-centered approach means that teachers guide rather than instruct, matching children's desires with activities that meet their interests, needs and developmental levels. The classroom is designed to allow movement and collaboration, while promoting concentration and a sense of order.
Multi-age groupings enable younger children to learn from older children and experience new challenges through observation; older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered, develop leadership skills, and serve as role models. This arrangement mirrors the real world, in which individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and dispositions.