Basic principles of Montessori education
Based on scientific observation
Montessori education is based on scientific observations of human development. Dr. Maria Montessori, a scientist and a medical doctor, based her approach on thousands of hours of observation of children and a lifetime of experimentation and refinement, developing a scientific model of human development and an education approach that supports fully realized human potential.
Montessori observed distinct stages of development in children. The model recognizes birth to six as an intense period of formative development with lasting cognitive, social, and emotional consequences, the elementary years as a peak learning period, and adolescence as a time of social development and intellectual maturation. Montessori practice for each age group responds to children’s characteristics at that age.
Montessori recognized the importance of student choice in education as a foundation for deep engagement and the development of independence.
Essential elements of Montessori practice
Children choose their own work
Children choose their own activities from a range of carefully prepared lessons and materials designed to support children’s natural development and drive to learn.
Trained teachers support children’s development
Teachers trained in Montessori principles and practice present a comprehensive curriculum individualized for each child.
Mixed age groupings
Classrooms serve children in three-year age groupings according to developmental stages. Children can progress naturally as they are ready for more challenging material, build authentic community and learn from both teachers and peers.
Uninterrupted independent work periods
Classrooms offer long uninterrupted periods for independent work, where children build attention, focus, and concentration, while learning at their own pace.
Hands-on, concrete, self-correcting materials support engagement, curiosity, independence, and self-guided learning.