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Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy, into a home of music, books and study. In her early teens, she entered engineering school, then medical school, becoming the first woman Doctor of Medicine in Italy in 1896. From observing young, underprivileged children, Dr. Montessori determined that the environment played an important part in their development. She set about designing learning materials and observing children as they used them. These materials, combined with a specifically prepared environment and trained teachers, lead to the Montessori Method of education.

What is the Montessori Method?
Montessori is not a protected name, so the Montessori Method and philosophy can be used in many different interpretations and settings. This makes the teacher training and the school affiliations very important.

Dr. Montessori believed that every child learns individually and should be encouraged to work at his or her own pace. The Montessori Method allows children to discover and learn from their own experiences and is based on principles including observation, order, concentration, coordination, and independence in the prepared environment. In a Montessori classroom, teachers observe children as they work, offer guidance and prepare them for their next activity. The classroom is designed so that a child can access the Montessori materials easily, freely selecting and replacing them without the need of adult assistance.

What is the goal of Montessori education?
The goal is to prepare children for a lifetime of creative thinking, learning and problem-solving. With the Montessori Method, the children receive a broad academic education in the context of a carefully planned, stimulating community and environment. We are committed to helping children to develop within themselves the foundation, habits, attitudes, skills and ideas that are essential for achieving this goal.

What will my child learn at a Montessori school?
The curriculum is the same as a traditional school . . . and more. The children develop social, emotional, motor and perceptual skills. They are introduced to reading, math, history, geography and science. They develop fine motor skills as well as practical life skills.

What is different about a Montessori classroom?
A classroom using the Montessori Method is a very busy place. Because children choose their own activities, they remain interested and engaged in what they are learning. A Montessori-certified teacher is always close by, observing and preparing to help with the next lesson or question. A Montessori classroom is also a very clean and tidy place. Children treat their materials with care and put them in their proper place once they have completed their work.

What is special about the Montessori materials?
The classroom has top-quality, child-sized furnishing and beautiful learning tools. Materials sit on shelves designed specifically for them. Children are taught how to use the materials and are free to move about the room, selecting their activities and pursuing their work, either individually or in small groups. Montessori materials are specifically designed to be self-correcting, allowing children to learn on their own, under the guidance of the teacher.

What is different about a Montessori teacher?
A Montessori education means that a child has a very special guide for his or her self-led journey. Montessori teachers are called Directresses and are certified after hundreds of hours of specialized training through the American Montessori Society (AMS). They are skilled at asking questions rather than providing answers. They know how to observe children as they learn. They know how to help a child build self-confidence and self-esteem. They carefully prepare the Montessori environment and method, as well as provide discipline. The Montessori teacher provides guidance.

What is the main difference between
a traditional classroom and a Montessori classroom?

In Montessori classrooms, teachers address the needs of individual children who are learning through repetition with hands-on materials. The teacher introduces a child to materials systematically, depending on developmental needs. The Montessori classroom is designed to promote self-discipline, independence and responsibility. Academically, children develop a foundation in language and math skills, physical and cultural geography, zoology, botany, physical science, history, music and art. They also learn practical life skills such as cooking, carpentry, sewing and cleaning. One of the most important aspects of a Montessori classroom is the teachers respect for the dignity of every child.

What happens when a child goes from
a Montessori classroom to a traditional school?
When children leave a Montessori program, we strive to help them leave with inner self-discipline; a positive attitude towards others, school and learning; self-esteem and the ability to concentrate on tasks. Often, but not always, they are ahead of their peers. The skills and attitudes developed at Montessori lead to a lifetime of curiosity and learning – a benefit for children who move from Montessori to private, parochial or public schools.

Is Montessori education for everyone?
Most children benefit from the Montessori Method. It is used around the world to educate children from all socio-economic backgrounds. Maria Montessori’s approach to education has been so successful that many private and public schools, as well as early childhood education centers, have adopted Montessori practices and philosophy.




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