What is Montessori?

What we call the "Montessori method" was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori at the beginning of the 20th century. A physician, Dr. Montessori studied young children and the way they learn. Her pedagogical approach has the unique distinction of being one of the only educational methods that is based on scientific observation of children. What Maria Montessori discovered about the brain and development of children over a hundred years ago is continually being reaffirmed by medical and developmental researchers to this day. 

In Montessori classrooms, children work independently, exploring learning materials at their own pace, often with their hands, under the careful observation and direction of specially-trained guides. Multi-age classrooms mean that children learn from each other and get a chance to be role models for younger children. Self-discovery is at the heart of the Montessori environment. Children develop independence, concentration, and the ability to follow complex instructions. 

Children in the Montessori environment find themselves in a state of flow during long uninterrupted work sessions. Because everything in their learning environment is tailored to their developmental needs, they become emotionally and socially fulfilled while being academically challenged. A true love of learning develops, as we concentrate on the process, not the product. 

This paper explores research on Montessori education - a true evidence-based curriculum.



The Partnership for 21st Century Skills identifies the 4 C's of learning and innovation- Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity. In Montessori classrooms, students develop these skills on a daily basis.

The inter-disciplinary approach to academic studies and the hands-on nature of the Montessori materials help children build executive functioning skills even at a very young age. They learn to explore, to question, to experiment in order to solve problems. Children are curious, and we give them an environment in which to think critically about the world around them. 

Through our Grace & Courtesy lessons, children learn to communicate effectively and peacefully. They learn manners and how to express their own feelings while addressing and understanding those of others. 

Students in Montessori classrooms are constantly working together, teaching and learning from one another. They learn to help, to pitch in to accomplish joint tasks, to collaborate on projects and find solutions together. They will be well-equipped to handle the collaborative nature of the modern workplace. 

Sir Ken Robinson talks a great deal about creativity. As he points out, you can be creative in math, science, engineering and philosophy just as you can in art. Montessori students are encouraged to think creatively throughout their school life. They are not "educated out of" creativity, as many students in traditional classrooms are. This creativity means students think "outside the box" to find solutions to problems, they embrace the mistake-making process. And, because of this, they love coming to school and learning.


Montessori Press