"Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence."
- Maria Montessori
Trained as Italy's first female physician, Dr. Maria Montessori is best known
for her creation of an educational system, introduced in 1907, that was a
revolutionary approach to the way children were educated. Through her pioneering
research, she created a system that addresses the development of the whole child
and is rooted in the belief that all children possess an intellectual and
creative potential, a drive to learn and the ability to be self-directed.
In carefully prepared classroom environments, children are grouped together in age spans of three years where they learn the important dual roles of
following, then leading. A highly organized, yet individually flexible
curriculum allows for the accommodation of varying academic capabilities. The
Montessori classroom prepares its students for each successive developmental
The seeds planted in the lower levels come to fruition in the upper
levels. Most importantly, the Montessori environment prompts children, under the
careful guidance of their teacher (referred to as a Guide), to take initiative in their own education by
making choices, developing self-respect and learning accountability to others.
An authentic Montessori program is characterized by the following traits.
Classes are multi-aged, multi-graded heterogeneous groupings of students
based on planes of development: Casa for ages 3 - 6; Lower Elementary for ages
6-9/Grades 1-3; Upper Elementary for ages 9-12/Grades 4-6.
Guides with accredited training in the Montessori philosophy and
methodology appropriate to the age level of the students work with their
students for three years.
A diverse set of Montessori learning materials, activities and experiences
guide discovery and foster physical, intellectual, creative and social
A prepared environment encourages intrinsic motivation, spontaneous
activity and self-directed learning. The environment engages and supports the
Students are met at their individual skill levels, presented appropriate
lessons, and given time to practice and reinforce concepts. Once mastery is
achieved and the student has felt success, the child is eager for the
challenge of the next level.
Classroom atmospheres encourage social interaction for cooperative
learning, peer teaching and emotional development.
Instruction is not divided into specific time frames associated with a
particular subject area or activity, but taught in an integrated fashion. The
cosmic curriculum emphasizes study of the whole, then its parts, helping a
child find connections and relationships in their world.
Curriculum emphasizes peace education and care of the environment as part
of understanding our place in the world and creating responsible citizens.
The daily schedule allows large blocks of time to problem solve, observe
and understand interactions and connections in knowledge and to create new
respect for the child through policies and actions.