Philosophy and Practice
Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and pioneer in child development who observed that children have a natural, progressive aptitude for acquiring knowledge about their world. Building on this natural progression, Dr. Montessori developed a philosophy which embraces the whole child. She found that placing children in a specially prepared environment to meet their physical, cognitive and social needs and to satisfy their intrinsic interests, children not only learn, but thrive.
"Our goal is not so much the imparting of knowledge as the unveiling and developing of the whole child."
— Maria Montessori
What Makes Montessori Unique?
The "Whole Child" Approach
The primary goal of the Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life.
The "Prepared Environment"
In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment— room, materials and social climate — must be supportive of the learner.
The Montessori Materials
Carefully designed materials based on observations of the activities children enjoy facilitate the learning of practiced skills and abstract concepts.
The Montessori Teacher
The Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, resource person, role model demonstrator, record keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth.
Observing a Montessori Classroom
What to look for when observing students:
- Watch two children for 10 minutes; see if they are engaged in their work.
- Watch to see if children can remove materials, do the work and return it to the shelf in the right place. This is completing a work cycle, which is important in children's ability to order multi-step tasks.
- See if children seem happy and enjoying themselves in the learning process.
- Watch the role of the adults in the classrooms; do they work with individual children as well as small groups?
- Do children interact with each other building positive social interactions? Do the adults support students in expressing themselves with their peers and with communicating their needs?
- Can you picture your children in this room? What work would they be drawn to if they were in this learning space?
- What is one question that you would like to know about this classroom, the Montessori educational philosophy or materials?
"Is Montessori education for every child? Montessori education works best for children who have a sense of order and can work independently. However, the structure of Montessori education can assist all children in developing strong work habits that will benefit them throughout their lives."
— Maria Montessori
As part of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support at Dater Montessori each month we observe a virtue. Listed below are each month's virtue and the color that it represents. On the last day of each month all students and staff will wear that color.