Why Montessori Education?
What makes Montessori education different from traditional preschools?
Dr. Maria Montessori’s focus on the “whole child” led her to develop a school that is
focused on the student, rather than the teacher-centered classroom. This method came
about through many years of observation of children to recognize how children learn best,
what tools best aid the children in their learning, and when children learn different subject
matters best. Thorough study of a child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs were used
in developing the method, which had been called by top education experts as “the most
developmentally appropriate model currently available.”
Why do most Children's Houses want children to enter at age three?
Dr. Montessori identified four “planes of development,” with each stage having its own
developmental characteristics and developmental challenges. The Early Childhood
Montessori environment for children age three to six is designed to work with the
“absorbent mind,” “sensitive periods,” and the tendencies of children at this stage of their
development. Learning that takes place during these years comes spontaneously, without
effort, leading children to enter the elementary classes with a clear, concrete sense of many
abstract concepts. Older children entering Montessori can also do quite well in this setting
though, because of the individualized pace of learning in Montessori classrooms.
What can Montessori accomplish that traditional schools typically do not?
Montessori helps children to become self-motivated, self-disciplined, and to retain the sense
of curiosity that so many children lose along the way in traditional classrooms. They tend to
act with care and respect toward their environment and each other. They are able to work
at their own pace and ability. The three-year Montessori experience tends to nurture a joy
of learning that prepares them for further challenges.
Why do Montessori classes group different age levels together?
Montessori classes are organized to encompass a two-or three-year age span, which
allows younger students the stimulation of older children, who in turn benefit from serving as
role models. In a mixed-age class, children can always find peers who are working at their
current level. Working in one class for two or three years allows students to develop a
strong sense of community with their classmates and teachers.
How can Montessori teachers meet the needs of so many different children?
Montessori teachers closely monitor their students’ progress. Because they normally work
with each child for two or three years, they get to know their students’ strengths and
weaknesses, interests and personalities extremely well. Montessori teachers often use the
children’s interests to enrich the curriculum and provide alternate avenues for
accomplishments and success.
How are Montessori teachers different from traditional preschool teachers?
As parents know their own children’s learning styles and temperaments, teachers, too,
develop this sense of each child’s uniqueness by spending a number of years with the
students and their parents. Montessori teachers lead children to ask questions, think for
themselves, explore, investigate, and discover. Their ultimate objective is to help their
students to learn independently and retain the curiosity, creativity, and intelligence with
which they were born. Montessori teachers don’t simply present lessons; they are
facilitators, mentors, coaches, and guides.
Why do most Montessori schools ask young children to attend five days a week?
Two-and three-day programs are often attractive to parents who do not need full-time
care. However, five-day programs create a culture of consistency, order, and
empowerment that is so important to young children and which is essential in developing
strong Montessori programs.
Why is enrolling a child in the middle of the semester not detrimental to a child's
Parents sometimes wonder if starting a child in a Montessori classroom sometime after the
beginning of the school year (due to a birthday, a recent move into an area, or a variety of
other factors) will leave their child behind other students who have been enrolled since the
start of the year. Montessori education allows children to work at their own pace and is
individualized to their own interests. As long as the children are attending five days a week,
the concept of "falling behind" does not come into play. There will always be a period of
acclimation to the Montessori method, but it is generally short lived. Additionally, the
teachers are cognizant of the situation and will always work to ensure the child is
progressing both socially and academically.
Isn't Montessori too strict and confining? Isn't Montessori too lax with no rules?
These are two surprisingly common inquiries. The Montessori method can best be
described as freedom with limits. It is true that students are able to choose their work
every day, but they must be working. Teachers will always give students a choice. For
example, they may say, "you may complete your work with the counting beads or you may
join us at circle time." They would not have the choice to walk around the classroom
aimlessly. Students may also go to the bathroom whenever they want as opposed to raising
their hands beforehand.
Similarly, students do have to follow some vary basic rules, such as cleaning up after
themselves, putting an apparatus back before using another one, respecting others and the
materials they use, using social graces, etc.
This concept of freedom with limits makes for a very productive classroom and an effective
"It is necessary for
the teacher to
guide the child
without letting him
feel her presence
too much, so that
she may always be
ready to supply the
desired help, but
may never be the
the child and his
~Dr. Maria Montessori
Did you know that
Sergey Brin and Larry
Page, the Co-Founders
of Google, credit their
as a major factor behind
their success? Here are
some other successful
individuals who were
educated in the
- Jeff Bezos, founder of
- Anne Frank
- Jimmy Wales, founder of
- Sean "Puffy" Combs
- Julia Child
- Helen Hunt
- George Clooney
- Jacqueline Bouvier
- Prince William and
Dr. Maria Montessori
"Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to
force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse
him to his innermost core."
~ Dr. Maria Montessori
About the Montessori Method