What is the Montessori Method?

Montessori is an educational method which:

  • Has as its primary aim the discovery and freeing of the child
  • Has been developed since 1907 and tested all over the world
  • Is based on scientific observation
  • Understands that the most important years of development are between birth and 12, when the child builds lifelong attitudes toward self and toward learning

This method:

  • Fulfills the need for independence, love security, movement, achievement, encouragement, involvement, completion, order, and individuality
  • Respects the individual styles of learning
  • Allows each child to progress at his own pace and to master skills through repetition
  • Encourages the natural desire of the child to grow, learn, and develop
  • Says boldly: “Follow the child!”

Montessori (pronounced MON-tuh-SORE-ee) is a comprehensive educational approach from birth to adulthood based on the observation of children’s needs in a variety of cultures all around the world.

Beginning her work almost a century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori developed this educational approach based on her understanding of children’s natural learning tendencies as they unfold in “prepared environments” for multi-age groups (0-3, 3-6, 6-9)

The Montessori environment contains specially designed, manipulatives that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained teacher, children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.

Today, Montessori schools are found worldwide, serving children from birth through adolescence. In the United States, there are more than 4,000 private Montessori schools and more than 200 public schools with Montessori-styled programs.

For more information, see Common Misconceptions about Montessori Education.

Content courtesy of the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association.
© NAMTA. All Rights Reserved