Montessori FAQ

What makes Montessori education unique?

Montessori is focused on giving a child a prepared environment where they can explore and learn with guidance in a way that allows them to follow the natural human tendencies to learn. Each is allowed to have choices with guidance in activities and how to structure their learning time, and each receives individual lessons and guidance throughout the learning experience. Children can move between independent and group work where socialization occurs naturally. This community of learners foster the cooperation and collaboration that is fundament to success in life.

Why does Montessori have a multi-age classroom?

Multi-age allows children to move more naturally from one stage of development to the next. It also recognizes that we do not always grow in a linear path. Often when we are learning new things, other learning may seem to regress, but after time and practice, it all comes together. In addition, multi-age groupings allow children to teach and learn from one another, which is a very powerful way to get the repetition and practice that help to really internalize new learnings, instead of just memorizing for a test. The three year work cycle for primary children provides a chance for children and teachers to really know each other and form strong relationships for learning.

If children are free to choose their own work, how do you ensure that they receive a well-rounded education?

Trained Montessori guides receive two years of intensive training on all aspects of child development and learning. Training includes all traditional subject areas such as language, math, cultural (science and social studies, movement and art/music. Additionally, training includes a focus on practical life activities incorporating care of self, care of environment and care of others. These help children develop the concentration, confidence and focus that prepare for learning in all other areas. The most unique part of a Montessori environment is the sensorial area. These materials were adopted and adapted by Maria Montessori after extensive observation of what engaged and helped children lo learn. These materials include the iconic pink tower, broad (brown stair) and red rods. The appeal to the child’s senses and lay a strong foundation for all future learning, especially in the areas of math and language.

Why does a Montessori classroom look different from a traditional classroom?

The prepared environment is specially developed to match the interests, abilities and size of the children. Tools and materials are “child-sized” to help children feel the independence they crave, and empower them to do the things they see Mom and Dad doing, and want to do also.

Children work at tables and/or floor mats where they can more readily spread out their materials. Open areas are provided for more freedom of movement. Movement is incorporated and encouraged throughout the work cycle, because we know children need to move, and brain research shows that children learn best when moving. Maria Montessori said, “What the hand does, the mind remembers,” and “He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”