Maria Montessori

It is impossible to talk about Montessori schools without mentioning its founder Maria Montessori, an Italian physician.  After observing the behavior of small children in her school in 1907, she noticed that even unruly children showed great interest in working with puzzles, learning to prepare meals, and manipulating materials Maria had designed. She observed that children acquired knowledge from their surroundings, essentially teaching themselves.  

Today, the amazing Montessori method has taken over the world with 22,000 Montessori schools in 110 countries. 

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The Core Ideas of the Montessori Method

Montessori schools are rooted in the idea to develop the child’s own initiative and natural abilities especially through practical play.  It is based in the following concepts:

- Follow the Child!

This simple mantra is at the core of a Montessori education.  By matching a child’s intellectual capabilities with tailored activities, it is possible to both stimulate and motivate a child to explore at their own pace and as a result, develop their own initiative and passion.  

- Freedom of Choice in Work

Children are encouraged to choose their own work based on their ability and inclination.  This marries the natural curiosity of children with a feeling of ownership and engagement. Instead of being passive observers, they become active participants in their education.  


- Freedom of Movement

Children are free to move around their classroom to get materials for their activities.  This freedom of movement develops a feeling of peace and control in the child. It nurtures their sense of independence as well as self-discipline and makes them feel respected.


- Educational Manipulative Materials

Maria Montessori designed manipulative materials that entice and encourage children to explore with their hands and learn at the same time.  They are sensory pleasing and interesting, serving as concrete real-life models of more abstract concepts to be learned by the child. 


- Multi-Age Classrooms

Montessori schools use multi-age classrooms because children learn best in an environment that is similar to their home.  Younger children gain confidence and knowledge from watching older children. Older children, on the other hand, develop leadership and feel accomplished. 

- Life Skills

Montessori believed  that the essence of independence is learning to take care of oneself. This translates to real-life activities in the classroom, such as scooping, pouring, sweeping, sewing, gardening, and conflict resolution, encourageing independence, and responsibility in a child.


- Creating Peace through Education

Maria Montessori stated: “Creating peace is the work of education”. She incorporated lessons to show children peaceful resolution of their problems.  She saw children as mankind's hope for the future and as a result she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1951 and 1952.


- Multicultural Education

Montessori incorporated lessons about the world and its cultures.  She believed that children will be the future peace makers. She wanted children to respect people all over the world.



More useful Information about Montessori and Child Development

Montessori Foundation

Montessori Guide     

CDC Child Development BasicsCDC  Child Development Basics