Dr. Maria Montessori's philosophy views the child as a natural learner eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive and thoughtfully prepared environment. Montessori education emphasizes on the following key principles.
Active Individualized Learning
Children learn in different ways. In a Montessori environment, students learn at their own pace, each progressing through the curriculum whenever he or she is ready.
The Montessori classroom is a prepared learning environment thoughtfully designed to support the child's natural learning process.
Children are allowed and in fact, encouraged to do things by themselves with as little adult interference as possible. They learn to care for themselves, others, and their environment.
Freedom of Movement
Movement is central to Montessori. Children learn best by doing and not by sitting idly in a desk. In a Montessori classroom, you will see children engaged in purposeful (not disruptive) actions. They actively work with materials, they can choose table or floor work, they take materials to and from the shelves, they take care of their environment by sweeping, wiping, watering plants, etc.
Concrete and Hands-On Learning
Children learn best from doing and manipulating, not just from listening and watching. Montessori materials are designed to be manipulated, to sharpen sensory perception and muscular control.
"We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being."
The Montessori prepared environment, materials, routines, and day-to-day activities support learning self-regulation and self-evaluation. Most of the materials are self-correcting, allowing children to learn how to recognize and correct their own mistakes with as little adult intervention as possible.
The multi-age classroom, usually spanning three years, creates a close and caring atmosphere similar to that of a family setting. The children naturally learn from one another, and learn by helping others. Older children become role models and share their knowledge with their younger
peers, who in turn, are encouraged and supported to practice and master tasks.