Key elements

The Important Points of the Montessori Method

The Montessori Revolution in Education

Montessori is a timeless method, with much to offer in the areas of education, child development, and human understanding.

  1. The Montessori Method of education is based on years of patient observation of child nature by the greatest educational genius since Froebel.
  2. It has proved itself of universal application.  It has proved successful with children of all races, colour, culture, rank and nationality.
  3. It has revealed the child as a lover of intellectual work, spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy.
  4. It is based on the child’s need to learn by doing.  At each stage of the child’s mental growth, corresponding occupations are provided by means of which he develops his faculties.
  5. While it offers the child a maximum of spontaneity, it nevertheless enables him to reach the same, or even a higher, level of scholastic attainment as under the other systems.
  6. Though it does away with the necessity of coercion by means of rewards and punishments, it achieves a higher discipline than formerly.  It is an active discipline, which originates within the child and is not imposed from without.
  7. It is based on a profound respect for the child’s personality removing him from the influence of the adult, thus leaving him room to grow in biological independence.  Hence the child is allowed a large measure of liberty (not license), which forms the basis of real discipline.
  8. It enables the teacher to deal with each child individually in each subject and thus guide him according to his individual requirements.
  9. Each child works at his own pace.  The quick child is not held back by the slower one, nor is the latter, in trying to keep up with the former, obliged to flounder along hopelessly out of his depth.  Each stone in the mental edifice is “well and truly laid” before the next is added.
  10. It does away with the competitive spirit and its train of hateful results.  More than this at every turn it presents endless opportunities among the children for mutual help - which is joyfully given and gratefully received.
  11. Since the child works from his own, free choice, without competition and coercion, he is freed from anger of overstrain, feelings of inferiority, and other experiences which are apt to be the unconscious cause of profound mental disturbance in later life.
  12. Finally, the Montessori Method develops the whole personality of the child, not merely his intellectual faculties but also his powers of deliberation, initiative and independent choices with their emotional complements.  By living as a free member of a real social community, the child is trained in those fundamental social qualities, which form the basis of good citizenship.

From Montessori: Her Life and Work by E.M. Standing.

The Montessori Environment

In the Montessori environment, the child becomes the active partner and the Montessori Adult the passive one.

The prepared environment, the method and the didactic materials encourage self-discipline, independence and spontaneous activity. The Montessori approach to teaching is based on the belief that "there exists in every child a deep seated urge for knowledge which seeks to expand itself. This is a primordial energy which starts from within (from what Montessori called the ‘motor ego’) and expresses itself through the choice and action of the whole personality." The prepared environment is an essential part of her philosophy of education.

In a Montessori environment the child works quietly by choice and out of respect for others.  He/she also works for as long as is necessary to complete a cycle of activity.  The control of error in all the materials enables the child to discover his/her own mistakes.  The child is encouraged to maintain the aesthetic beauty of the environment and the shelves in the correct order.

The Montessori Adult

“A Montessori teacher must prepare herself…she must keep her imagination alive, for while, in traditional schools, the teacher sees the immediate behaviour of her pupils, knowing that she must look after them and what she has to teach, the Montessori teacher is constantly looking for the child who is not yet there.”

Dr Maria Montessori brought into being a ‘new teacher’ - the Montessori Adult..  She is often named a Montessori Adult because her primary function is not so much to teach as to direct the natural energy of the child.

The Montessori Adult “needs to acquire a deeper sense of the dignity of the child as a human being, a new appreciation of the significance of his spontaneous activities, a wider and more thorough understanding of his needs and more reverence for him as the creator of the adult to be.”

The Montessori Adult sees the child at the centre of the education process and that education must be concerned with the cognitive training of the child, as well as with his spiritual and social development.