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What is Montessori?

Montessori is an educational philosophy with the underlying principle that a child learns best within an environment that supports each individual's unique development.

Early in the twentieth century Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy's first woman physician, developed what is now called the Montessori Method of Education. Dr. Montessori developed educational materials and methods based on her belief that children learn best by doing. This belief is widely accepted by educational institutions today. This idea of learning by doing means the active personal pursuit of many different experiences: physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. Montessori teachers know that children learn more by touching, seeing, and exploring than by just listening.

Dr. Montessori believed that learning should occur in multi-age classrooms where children at various stages of development learn from and with each other. Montessori's developmental approach was designed to fit each child instead of making each child fit the program. Respect for each child's individuality was at the core of her philosophy.

How Does It Work?

Each class, from preschool to high school, operates on the principle of freedom within limits. Each program has a set of age-appropriate ground rules based on the core Montessori belief of respect for each other and for the environment.

Children are free to work at their own pace with materials they have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher determines through observation of the children when new activities and materials need to be introduced. Lessons are given individually or in small groups. The aim is to encourage active, self-directed learning. Experienced children share what they have learned with younger children, thereby reinforcing their own learning.

Older students in the elementary through high school classrooms have daily tasks and goals to accomplish according to their individual learning needs. The aim is to work toward independence and self-responsibility for the learning process.

Resources

Learn more about the Montessori Method and the national and international organizations that support Montessori education.

American Montessori Society
Website of the American Montessori Society, one of the accrediting bodies for our school.

Association Montessori Internationale
The Association Montessori Internationale was founded in 1929 by Dr. Maria Montessori to maintain the integrity of her life's work, and to ensure that it would be perpetuated after her death. AMI's activities include:  Providing guidance for AMI training courses, guiding the manufacturers recognized by AMI in the production of approved Montessori materials, overseeing the publication of Dr. Montessori's books, organizing congresses and study conferences, affiliating Montessori Societies, and publishing the magazine Communications and a web site.

North American Montessori Teachers' Association
NAMTA is a membership organization open to parents, teachers, and anyone else interested in Montessori education. NAMTA provides a medium of study, interpretation, and improvement of Montessori education through its publications, audio-visual collection, electronic communications, conferences, and research and service projects throughout North America and the world.

Montessori Online
Website of the Montessori Foundation and International Montessori Council.

National Center for Montessori Education
The National Center for Montessori Education was initially organized in 1977 as a non-political association with the goals of promoting unity among Montessorians and providing creditable Montessori Teacher Education programs.

The International Montessori Index
Informative overview of Dr. Montessori's life and work, as well as Montessori methods and materials.

The Michael Olaf Montessori Company
This is a commercial site by a leading vendor of Montessori materials; nevertheless it contains valuable information about Montessori education.  Olaf's company is actively involved in Montessori work in the Children's Villages, which are Montessori communities for refugee children in Tibet.

Thoughtful Shopping

Resources for Montessori parents searching for educational, imaginative children's toys and reading materials as well as other products.

Magic Cabin
Hearthsong
Chinaberry
Purciful's Magical Toys
Carus Publishing Company
Scholastic
Mastermind Toys
Silly Goose Toys
Elements of Nature
Creative Kidstuff