The History

The Montessori method is a world-renowned technique that was developed in the early 1900’s by Dr. Maria Montessori who sought to deliver high quality education to the poorest of children living in Rome, Italy. Characterized by multi-age classrooms filled with hands-on materials that enable students to self-correct as they learn, the Montessori approach allows children to experience success at each phase of their educational journey. Alongside the children’s academic work, Montessori teachers also nurture and observe the students’ social and emotional growth, thus taking into consideration the ‘whole child.’ Today the Montessori method is used worldwide in both public and private settings, educating children from pre-K through high school. There are over 6,000 Montessori schools in the United States, just over 400 of them are public.

Renowned Education Innovator, Dr. Maria Montessori

The Italian educator and physician, Dr. Maria Montessori, was the first Italian woman to receive a medical degree. Dr. Montessori designed curricula, unique materials and an individualized approach to education based on the academic, developmental and psychological needs of children. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice for her work in areas of peace and conflict resolution.

The Approach

Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just by hearing through the act of listening, or seeing by observing and reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (eg: grades 1-3; 4-6), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.

Montessori teachers are not stationed at the front of the room, but rather they travel from area to area, meeting the children where they are, working with them individually and in small and large groups and using their skills and tools of observation to continually assess the academic and social needs of their students.

The Montessori classroom is a prepared environment organized by curricular areas. Students work in 3 hour work-cycles. They learn time management and executive functioning skills as they manage their time and complete their work plans on a daily/weekly basis. By partnering with fellow students, they learn the power of collaboration and develop important leadership and speaking skills as well.

Montessori Related Links

American Montessori Society (AMS) provides the leadership and inspiration to make Montessori a significant voice in education. The Society advocates quality Montessori education, strengthens members through its services, and champions Montessori principles to the greater community.

MariaMontessori.com is a project from the Montessori Administrators Association (MAA) with a goal of providing accurate and relevant information about the Montessori method of education to parents around the world.

Madam Montessori Fifty years after her death, innovative Italian educator, Maria Montessori, still gets high marks. Article by Nancy Shute for Smithsonian Magazine.

Video Links

“Imagine a School: Montessori for Elementary Aged Children” combines scenes from two public and four private Montessori schools to show the effectiveness of this philosophy of education. Covers: Hands-on materials, cooperative learning, multiage learning communities, self-paced/self-initiated learning, uninterrupted work time, respect for other cultures and more

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcgN0lEh5IA
an animation explaining Montessori which is featured on the website, www.montessorimadness.com, a site for and by Trevor Eissler – the father of three Montessori students, a business jet pilot, children’s book author, and international speaker. His book,Montessori Madness! explores how Montessori education best prepares children for the real world.

Montessori Research

Outcomes for Students in a Montessori Program: A Longitudinal Study of the Experience in the Milwaukee Public Schools. This study supports the hypothesis that Montessori education has a positive long-term impact. Additionally, it provides an affirmative answer to questions about whether Montessori students will be successful in traditional schools.

Montessori Science
Dr. Angeline Lillard, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, has been studying Montessori’s methods for more than two decades. In her best-selling book Montessori: The Science behind the Genius, articles, educational DVD, and speaking engagements Dr. Lillard presents Montessori’s theoretical principles, the science research that has followed them, and how they are implemented in a Montessori classroom.