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.
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 are able to choose from a variety of activities in their classrooms. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, independence, 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.