- Creates a culture of consistency, order, and empowerment.
- Provides learning opportunities for absorbent minds during the sensitive periods of learning.
- Focuses on the whole child.
- Develops independence, self-motivation, self-discipline, & creativity.
- Nurtures a love of learning.
- Develops the art of thinking.
- Inculcates wholesome values & a sense of community.
Montessori classrooms are carefully prepared environment designed to facilitate the development of the whole child. These classrooms are child centered, and are equipped with child-sized furniture and a variety of age appropriate instructional materials with built-in control of error.
Class begins each day with a three hour uninterrupted work time. Children move freely within the classroom, selecting work that captures their interest. Children normally go about their work calmly and purposefully. They are given the freedom to choose/engage in activities according to their skills and interests. They can move on to more challenging activities when they are ready.
Mixed age grouping in a Montessori classroom allows the children to learn from each other. By helping and sharing their knowledge with the younger ones, the older children's knowledge is reinforced. This grouping also develops a strong sense of community and facilitates the moral development of the children. They learn to be sensitive to the needs of their classmates.
Montessori classrooms have typically 25-30 students covering a three year age span. This number allows the class to contain a representative group of each developmental stage.
A Montessori teacher serves as facilitator of student learning. She prepares and maintains the physical, intellectual, social and emotional environment in which the children work. She observes the needs and interests of each child and acts accordingly. When the child is ready for an introduction to a new piece of material, the child is shown how to use it by means of an individual presentation.
Lessons are brief, clear, and intriguing to spark the child's interest, motivating him to work on the materials on his own. The child is free to work with the material as often as he wants. It is this repetition that provides the child with the opportunity to master the task at hand.
Montessori teachers carefully monitor the progress of each student. Because they typically work with students for two or three years, teachers get to know each student's strengths, weaknesses, interests, and personalities. They use children's interests to enrich the curriculum and to provide alternate avenues for accomplishment and success.
Normalization describes the process during which children learn to be independent, concentrate for long periods of time, complete their tasks, and take satisfaction from their work.
No one school or program is right for all children. Montessori has been successfully used with all types of children from all socioeconomic levels, with regular, gifted, and special needs students. However, some students may be better in a more teacher directed setting that offers fewer choices and more external structure.
Most Montessori teachers do not assign homework in the Casa Program (ages 3-6). Homework in elementary classrooms (ages 6-9 and 9-12) is usually designed to expand on topics that students are pursuing in class.
Studies have shown that Montessori students do very well when they move to a traditional high school. Students have developed critical thinking and independent learning skills which serve them well in the traditional classroom.