Montessori Method Philosophy


The Montessori method emphasizes the uniqueness of each child and recognizes that children are different from adults in the way they develop and think (they aren't just "adults in small bodies"). Dr. Montessori believed in children's rights, the value and importance of children's work to develop themselves into adults, and that this development would lead to world peace.

The Montessori method discourages traditional measurements of achievement (grades, tests) as negative competition that is damaging to the inner growth of children (and adults). Feedback and qualitative analysis of a child's performance does exist but is generally provided in the form of a list of skills, activities and critical points, and sometimes a narrative of the child's achievements, strengths and weaknesses. Deficiencies in one area are treated as places to improve, not as failures.

The Montessori method is based on observing young children and learning from them about their characteristics and needs. Universal characteristics of children are recognized for each level of development: the first is birth through 6, the second is ages 6-12. Montessori classroom for the first level is called the casa dei bambini, or "children's house," where each child is nurtured and guided in individually-paced learning and development. As children enter the second level, they become peer-oriented and learn best in a social environment, collaborating with others, and "cosmic education" is introduced to expand their awareness and develop as citizens of the community and the world.

As an educational approach, the Montessori method's focus is on the individuality of each child in respect of their needs or talents, as opposed to the needs of the class as a whole. A goal is to help the child maintain their natural joy of learning.

The Montessori method encourages a great deal of independence, freedom within appropriate limits, which is always linked with responsibility. The youngest children are guided in "practical life" skills towards taking care of themselves, maintaining their environment, and interacting gracefully with others. Integral to the practical life activities are essential skills such as focusing of attention, hand-eye-body coordination, and the students' ability to accomplish what they set out to do. The Montessori Method states that satisfaction, contentment, and joy result from the child having access and guidance to be full participants in daily activities. There are also attractive and enticing materials with which the child gains a foundation for academics and other skills. Montessori education carried through the elementary and high school years follows the child's emerging tendency for peer interactions and still emphasize each student as guardian of his or her own intellectual development.


The premises of a Montessori approach to teaching and learning include the following:

A view of children as competent beings capable of self-directed learning.

That children learn in a distinctly different way from adults.

The ultimate importance of observation of the child interacting with his environment as the basis for ongoing curriculum development. Presentation of subsequent exercises for skill development and information accumulation are based on the teacher's observation that the child has mastered the current exercise(s).

Delineation of sensitive periods of development, during which a child's mind is particularly open to learning specific skills or knowledge, including language development, sensorial experimentation and refinement, and various levels of social interaction.

A belief in the "absorbent mind", that children from birth to around age 6 possess limitless motivation to achieve competence within their environment and to perfect skills and understandings. This phenomenon is characterized by the young child's capacity for repetition of activities within sensitive period categories, such as exhaustive babbling as language practice leading to language competence.

That children are masters of their environment, which has been specifically prepared for them to be academic, comfortable, and allow a maximum amount of independence.

That children learn through discovery, so didactic materials that are self-correcting are used as much as possible.

Independent problem solving is encouraged.



The goal of Montessori is to provide a stimulating, child-centered environment in which children can explore, touch, and learn without fear, thus engendering a lifelong love of learning as well as providing the child the self-control necessary to fulfill that love.