the montessori difference

The Montessori method embraces education as a tool for life. Based on scientific observations of the real needs of children from birth, it has been tested over the course of 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world. It is based on a profound respect for children; a belief that learning is innate and natural; that children are curious and creative, and that intelligence is anything but uncommon! In a Montessori classroom, you will see:

Mixed age classrooms with an age range and learning cycle of three years where children naturally learn empathy, leadership, and cooperation. They see how what they are learning now will grow into what they'll learn next. The community of children is a strong factor in setting the stage for adulthood, where there is almost always a mix of ages, experiences, and talent.

A classroom that is orderly, peaceful, and joyful. The Montessori classropm is very structured, but that structure is quite different from a traditional school. Montessori observed that children naturally tend to use self-selected, purposeful activities to develop themselves. The Montessori classroom, with its prepared activities and trained adults, is structured to promote this natural process of human development. (Come see it to believe it!)

Individualized learning in uninterrupted blocks of work time. If something grabs their interest, they can pursue it. Mastering skills at their own pace, Montessori students work according to their individual developmental levels rather than their biological ages.

Teachers working with children throughout the three-year cycle, allowing them to truly and deeply get to know each student. A Montessori teacher is a guide, nurturing development and providing resources, materials, and activities that continually take children to the next step in learning.

Plenty of fresh air and physical activity with fluidity between indoor and outdoor works. Children learn through play, and that extends to the outdoors. Each classroom has its own shaded garden, in addition to shared playgrounds. In a day and age where children's recesses are being taken away, what a joy to allow children to exert energy and return to the classroom focused. 

More resources

The most comprehensive research on Montessori education in comparison to traditional education was published by a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, Dr. Angeline Lillard. Her findings and other studies show that Montessori students have:

  • more interest in learning
  • greater self discipline
  • a greater understanding of truth and fairness
  • increased creativity, especially in their writing
  • a broader view of how geography, history, social studies, and science are related
  • more independence
  • a better understanding of concepts from grammar and story structure to mathematical operations, algebra and geometry

If you would like to know more, here are some excellent resources:

American Montessori Society

American Montessori Society's Vimeo Channel

The Montessori Foundation

North American Montessori Teachers' Association

Montessori 101 article

Montessori Terminology