Montessori Method & Philosophy
OF MONTESSORI PHILOSOPHY ON WHICH THE EDUCATIONAL METHOD IS BASED
Frequently Asked Questions about Montessori
Grouping, based on Periods of Development: Children are grouped in
three or six-year spans and have the same teacher for this period.
The 3-Hour Work Period: Aft every age, a minimum of one 3-hour
work period per day, uninterrupted by required attendance at group
activities of any kind is required for the Montessori method of
education to produce the results for which it is famous.
Tendencies: The practical
application of the Montessori method is based on human tendencies— to
explore, move, share with a group, to be independent and make decisions,
create order, develop self-control, abstract ideas from experience, use
the creative imagination, work hard, repeat, concentrate, and perfect
Process of Learning: There are three stages of
(Stage 1) introduction to a concept by means of a lecture, lesson,
something read in a book, etc.
(Stage 2) processing the information, developing an understanding of the
concept through work, experimentation, creation.
(Stage 3) "knowing", to possessing an understanding of, demonstrated by
the ability to pass a test with confidence, to teach another, or to
express with ease.
Indirect Preparation: The steps of learning any
concept are analyzed by the adult and are systematically offered to the
child. A child is always learning something that is indirectly preparing
him to learn something else, making education a joyful discovery instead
Prepared Environment: The Prepared Environment:
Since the child learns to glean information from many sources, instead
of being handed it by the teacher, it is the role of the teacher to
prepare and continue to adapt the environment, to link the child to it
through well-thought-out lessons, and to facilitate the child's
exploration and creativity.
Observation: Scientific observations of the
child's development are constantly carried out and recorded by the
teacher. These observations are made on the level of concentration of
each child, the introduction to and mastery of each piece of material,
the social development, physical health, etc. on.
Centers: The environment is arranged according to
subject area, and children are always free to move around the room, and
to continue to work on a piece of material with no time limit.
Method: There are no text books, and seldom will
two or more children be studying the same thing at the same time.
Children learn directly from the environment, and from other
children—rather than from the teacher. The teacher is trained to teach
one child at a time, with a few small groups and almost no lessons given
to the whole class. She is facile in the basic lessons of math,
language, the arts and sciences, and in guiding a child's research and
exploration, capitalizing on interests and excitement about a subject.
Large groups occur only in the beginning of a new class, or in the
beginning of the school year, and are phased out as the children gain
independence. The child is scientifically observed, observations
recorded and studied by the teacher. Children learn from what they are
studying individually, but also from the amazing variety of work that is
going on around them during the day.
The most successful 3-6 or 6-12 classes are of 30-35 children to one
teacher, with one nonteaching assistant, this number reached gradually
over 1-3 years. This provides the most variety of personalities,
learning styles, and work being done at one time. This class size is
possible because the children learn from each other and stay with the
same teacher for three to six years. .
Lessons: A well-trained Montessori teacher spends
a lot of time during training practicing the many basic lessons with
materials in all areas. She/he must pass difficult written and oral
exams on these lessons in order to be certified. She is trained to
recognize a child's readiness—according to age, ability, and
interest—for a specific lesson, and is prepared to guide individual
progress. Although the teacher plans lessons for each child for each
day, she will bow to the interests of a child following a passion.
of Study Linked: All subjects are interwoven; history, art, music,
math, astronomy, biology, geology, physics, and chemistry are not
isolated from each other and a child studies them in any order he
chooses, moving through all in a unique way for each child. At any one
time in a day all subjects—math, language, science, history, geography,
art, music, etc.—are being studied, at all levels.
Schedule: There is at least one 3-hour period of
uninterrupted, work time each day, not broken up by required group
lessons or lessons by specialists. Adults and children respect
concentration and do not interrupt someone who is busy at a task. Groups
form spontaneously but not on a predictable schedule. Specialists are
available at times but no child is asked to interrupt a self-initiated
project to attend these lessons.
There are no grades, or other forms of reward or punishment, subtle or
overt. Assessment is by portfolio and the teacher's observation and
record keeping. The real test of whether or not the system is working
lies in the accomplishment and behavior of the children, their
happiness, maturity, kindness, and love of learning, concentration, and
Age 3-6: There are no
academic requirements for this age, but children are exposed to amazing
amounts of knowledge and often learn to read, write and calculate beyond
what is often thought usual for a child of this age.
Ages 6-18: Requirements for
ages 6-18: There are no curriculum requirements except those set by the
state, or college entrance requirements, for specific grades and these
take a minimum amount of time. Students of K-12+ age design 1-2 week
contracts with the teacher to balance their work, and learn time
management skills. The work of the 6-12 class includes subjects usually
not introduced until high school.
Styles: All intelligences and styles of
learning—musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal,
intrapersonal, intuitive, natural, and the traditional linguistic and
logical-mathematical—are nurtured and respected.
Education: Opportunities for
the valorization of the personality is considered at least as important
as academic education. Children are given the opportunity to take care
of themselves, each other, and the environment—gardening, cooking,
building, moving gracefully, speaking politely, doing social work in the
Results of learning in this way: In looking at the
results one must be sure they are judging a class run by a fully trained
teacher. Using Montessori without this training will not have the same
results. When the environment meets all of the needs of children they
become, without any manipulation by the adult, physically healthy,
mentally and psychologically fulfilled, extremely well-educated, and
brimming over with joy and kindness toward each other.
Reprinted from: Child of the World,
Essential Montessori for Age three to Twelve. Excerpted from