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” (ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning), toddlers through adolescents. Between birth and age six, the method provides the individual child a solid foundation on which to build the self.
Key features of the Montessori classroom include trained teachers, multi-age classes based on the planes of human development, the use of Montessori materials, child-directed work, and uninterrupted work periods.
Montessori 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, as it also promotes 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.
Learn more about the Montessori method. Visit the American Montessori Society site.