Frequently Asked Questions

Where did Montessori come from?

Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician, founded Montessori education in 1907. 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.

What is Montessori Method?

Montessori Method has three main parts:

  • The Child
  • The Environment
  • The Directress

The Montessori Method can help your child to grow in many ways. It allows your child to learn the way she learns best and easiest by doing things herself.

Each Montessori class, from toddlers through high school, operates on the principle of freedom within limits. Every program has its set of ground rules that differs from age to age, but is always based on core Montessori beliefs-respect for each other and for the environment.

The Montessori Method is built on your child's natural life-long motivation for continuous learning. It helps your child remain in touch with her natural growth and development and avoids forcing her to do anything she is not truly ready for.

What is Montessori classroom environment?

The Montessori environment is your child's "teacher". In a Montessori school, your child teaches himself using the specially designed Montessori materials. These are attractive, generally simple, child sized materials that are self-correcting, and that is, if a child makes an error, he can see it by looking at the material itself.

Because he can choose his own work and do it at his own pace, your child has many opportunities for success. He will also have access to plants and animals and will help care for them. The Montessori classroom is an attractive place in which your child can be free from adult domination and can discover his world and build his mind and body.

What is Montessori classroom?

The Montessori classroom includes children of different ages. By placing your child in a classroom with children of varying ages, you are exposing her to a wide range of learning possibilities. The Montessori classroom covers a number of different areas. The "Practical Life" area is the foundation for all learning. The child learns to focus and concentrate, follow a sequence and gain the level of independence appropriate to their age. The independence builds self-esteem and the child feels a contributing member of the group while learning to care for himself and the environment. Here, your child will learn to dress himself by using the dressing frames (buttons, snaps, zipper, buckles, pins, laces, bows, and hooks and eyes), to pour (rice and water), to wash a table, to polish silver and to properly wash is hands, among other things. In addition to this prepared environment, gardening & cooking activities allow the child to learn about nature and food preparation, which are everyday parts of living.

The "Sensorial" area allows her to use her sense to learn about the world. Here, your child will learn to discriminate between different heights, lengths, weights, color, sounds, smells, shapes, and textures.

The language, math, geography, and science areas provide your child with aids for her intellectual development. From the (I Spy) game, which introduces phonics to sentence analysis and function of words, the child develops a love for reading. Math is introduced first in the Practical Life area through activities such as measuring and weighing when using recipes, through Sensorial Activities such as visual discrimination in size. The Montessori Method allows the child to discover new things through science activities and learn about the world through various cultural activities in the classroom. The precise and accurate language used in the classroom will give the child the vocabulary to express themselves with confidence on most subjects.

Dr. Montessori found that children need to use all of five senses to acquire knowledge. She designed the classroom so the children can move about. Through this physical participation with her environment, she becomes aware of her body and what it can do.

What is the role of the Montessori teacher (directress)?

The Montessori Directress has many jobs to do. Unlike the teacher in a traditional school, the Montessori Directress is not the center of the classroom. Instead, she is very often hardly noticeable in the room as the children are working. She has no desk and spends her time working with children at child-sized tables or on the rug.

The directress must be a keen observer of children and needs to have a clear idea of each child's individual level of development. She determines what materials are best for each child to work with and guides him individually. In this way, the child learns the proper use of each material.

She is flexible and willing to try new ideas to help each student. Your child will come to see the directress as a friendly helper and guide while thinking for himself.

What is the best age to start Montessori?

Montessori is not just a curriculum - it is a way of life. At birth, children should be in an environment which maximizes their ability to grow and develop to their fullest potential. The "Prepared Environment" not only allows this to development to occur, but propels this development. Dr. Maria Montessori designed this curriculum for all stages of life, beginning at birth. The first six years of life, however, are critical to development laying the foundation of a lifelong learner. During these six years, children possess unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from the environment. At the same time, sensitivity to order, co-ordination and independence begins to emerge.

The lasting impression of the Montessori Method.

Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they have been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make choices and manage their time well.