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What is Montessori?

"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." – Maria Montessori

Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, the Montessori Method is a child-centered educational approach designed to foster critical thinking in a collaborative and hands-on learning environment. 

Montessori schools afford a deep respect for children as unique individuals, with particular focus on children's social and emotional development. Encouraging children to become independent thinkers - a necessary skill as they prepare for tomorrow's workforce - is a core component of Montessori education.

Montessori education is based on these concepts:

  • The aim of Montessori education is to foster autonomous, competent, responsible and adaptive citizens who are lifelong learners and problem-solvers.
  • Learning occurs in an inquisitive, cooperative and nurturing atmosphere. Students build their own knowledge through self- and teacher-initiated experiences.
  • Learning is experiential, taking place using all of the senses. Particularly during the early years of a Montessori education, students learn through manipulating materials and interacting with others. These meaningful experiences serve as precursors for developing an understanding of more abstract concepts.
  • The individual is considered as a whole. Physical, emotional, social, aesthetic and cognitive needs and interests are inseparable and equally important.
  • Respect for oneself, others, the environment and life is necessary to develop a caring attitude toward all people.
  • Montessori teachers follow the child, not the curriculum, tailoring lessons and experiences to meet a child's individual needs.

Learn more about Montessori education from the American Montessori Society.