1. Where did Montessori come from?
Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children's learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a "prepared environment" in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, nearly a century after Maria Montessori's first Casa dei Bambini ("Children's House") in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.
2. What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.How can children learn if they're free to choose whatever material they want?
Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing. A Montessori student may choose his/her focus of learning on any given day, but his decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that his teacher has prepared and presented to him/her.
Beginning at the elementary level, students typically set learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
3. Are Montessori schools just playtime?
Dr. Montessori realized that children’s play is their work—their effort to master their own bodies and environment—and out of respect she used the term “work” to describe all their classroom activities. Montessori students work hard, but they don’t experience it as drudgery; rather, it’s an expression of their natural curiosity and desire to learn
4. How can children learn if they're free to do whatever they want?
Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing. A Montessori student may choose his focus of learning on any given day, but his decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that his teacher has prepared and presented to him. Beginning at the elementary level, students typically set learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
5. If children work at their own pace, don't they fall behind?
Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
6. Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.
- North American Montessori Center
- American Montessori Society
- A Brief Overview of Montessori Elementary
- Montessori Builds Innovators, Harvard Business Review
- Tech Innovators Who Became Wildlt Successful After Going to Montessori School, Bussiness Insider