The Montessori method is a child-centered approach to education first developed over decades of empirical research by Italian physician and reformer Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Montessori educators today continue her tradition of studying human development and incorporating the latest brain science into the educational model. They tap into students’ natural passion for learning and individual interests to “follow the child,” a guiding principle Dr. Montessori established. Concepts connect to the bigger picture and the curriculum is integrated across all subject areas.
The sensory materials and active practices emphasized in the Montessori method facilitate the developing brain's acquisition of concepts through concrete experience. This approach lays the critical neural foundation for more complex and abstract learning. The Montessori model matches children’s phases of cognitive development, typically meaning 3 years or grades are grouped in a classroom. The students progress through a 3-year cycle of learning and leadership, both learning from and helping guide their classmates in a respectful and collaborative manner.
Montessori educators are specially trained to teach a wide variety of learners and to assess and meet each student’s readiness and skill level regardless of age or grade. Students are allowed to learn as much and as rapidly as they want by demonstrating mastery of each topic or skill before moving to the next level.
The Montessori classroom is a dynamic environment of student engagement and initiative. Students are encouraged to think creatively and understand the world as a holistic interplay of systems. There is a strong emphasis on cultivating community, finding one's voice and stewarding a sustainable planet. Montessori-educated children very often reach maturity with extremely strong abilities in innovation, problem-solving, self-organization, ethics, cooperation and leadership.