What Makes a Montessori Education Unique?

The whole child approach

The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation. The holistic curriculum, under the direction of a specifically prepared teacher, allows the child to experience the joy of learning and time to enjoy the process. It also ensures the development of self-esteem and provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.

The “prepared environment”

In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment—room, materials and social climate—must be supportive of the learner. The teacher provides the necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate. The teacher thus gains the child’s trust, which enables them to try new things and build self-confidence.

The Montessori materials

Dr. Montessori’s observations of the kinds of things that children enjoy and return to repeatedly led her to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials that facilitate the learning of skills and lead to learning of abstract ideas.

The teacher

Originally called a “directress,” the Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper, and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth. The teacher acts as a facilitator of learning.

The above is adapted from The American Montessori Society pamphlet titled, “It is necessary, It is Montessori.”