The Montessori Method

Guiding Philosophy

We adhere to the comprehensive, holistic educational approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870—1952) through her observations of children’s developmental needs and learning tendencies.

Montessori education is a child-led process, offering freedom for children to explore and discover. Guided by knowledgeable and nurturing adults, children have space to experience joyful learning, to develop independence, to follow their own curiosity, to express creativity, to work collaboratively, to experience nature, and to ponder deep questions of morality. Children do all of this at their own pace, following their inner drive to learn and pursuing their own educational goals according to their individual capabilities.

In short, a Montessori education is an aid to life. It helps children with their inner task of self construction and creates space for them to reach their full potential. Montessori students emerge from their education with knowledge, creativity, and wisdom, ready to address the pressing needs of the world and work toward the common good.

Distinctive Features

Prepared Environment

Each learning environment is beautiful, simple, well-ordered, and designed to maximize freedom and independent learning. Learning materials and other tools are arranged in inviting and accessible ways depending on the developmental plane of the student. Children can freely retrieve materials, work with them, and replace them on the shelves at their own pace and according to their own interests. Montessori guides ensure that learning environments are carefully prepared and maintained to best serve each child.

Sequential Materials

Montessori students begin by using manipulative (hands-on) materials that demonstrate a learning concept. They next progress to representational materials (pictures) and then to abstract thinking. This progression is based on the child’s own developmental phases. The beautiful, multi-sensory materials are sequential and self-correcting, which cultivates independence, builds self-esteem, and creates self-directed learners.

Individualized Learning

Children in Montessori classrooms are encouraged to learn and develop at their own pace and in their own way. With support from classroom guides, children motivated by their own curiosity can move quickly through one subject and more slowly through another. Support for the learning process can be tailored to each child’s needs. The classroom culture is intentionally non-competitive, which fosters cooperation, creativity, and compassion within the students, who help one another and work together to solve problems. Grades, as understood in a traditional school, are not a part of this system. Instead, progress is monitored and encouraged by classroom guides who support children in setting goals specific to their own interests and needs.

Multi-Age Classrooms

Montessori classes are structured around natural stages of childhood development rather than traditional grade levels. This allows each student to work on different levels of difficulty depending on the child’s skills and interests, rather than being restricted by artificial grade level barriers. Children remain in the same class for three years at a time. This creates trust in the faculty and the classroom environment, encourages a sense of community and long-term friendships, and frees children from many social concerns so that they can focus on their academic development.