FAQs about Montessori

Q: Where did Montessori method and philosophy come from?
A: The Montessori method was established in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori. She was the first female to become a physician in Italy. As a scientist, she first observed children and their learning process. Through her observations she discovered that children teach themselves from experiencing the environment they are in. This lead her to design the “prepared environment” which is a learning environment designed with “developmentally appropriate” material for children to choose freely.

Q: What is the difference between Montessori education and traditional education?
A: Dr. Montessori designed the educational system so that the child learns using all five senses, where he moves from concrete learning to abstract learning. Traditionally children learn mainly by listening, watching or reading, and they learn to follow pre set patterns or formulas which are mainly abstract. The Montessori child learns on his / her own, at his / her own pace, choosing freely the topics and activities he / she would like to explore. The prepared environment of a Montessori class holds hundreds of topics and activities. In this class, learning is an exciting journey of exploration which leads to self motivation, self correction, self discipline, focus and accountability, where the child will cultivate the love of learning.

A few differences in approach of Montessori Vs. Traditional

Montessori education
Emphasis on cognitive structure and social development

The guide (teacher) has an inconspicuous role in the classroom and activity. The Child is the main role and is an active participant.

The method and process in the class encourages internal self-discipline.

Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, become creative and help each other.

Curriculum is exploration of the child’s interests and the environment is thoughtfully prepared to allow the child to choose.

Traditional education
Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development

Teacher takes a main role and determines the learning activity and the child is a passive participant.

The teacher acts as the enforcer of external discipline.

Teacher driven learning.

The learning is structured for the child with little regard for the child’s interests.

Q: Why do Montessori classrooms have mixed age groups?
A: In Montessori, classes are divided into three year age groups 0-3yrs, 3-6 yrs, 6-9yrs, 9-12yrs and so on. This allows the natural learning of a young child, who looks to his older peers for learning, and the older child who becomes proficient of his knowledge by teaching the younger peers, to occur. It creates a community of students who are empathetic, patient and confident.

Q: How does a Montessori teacher become Montessori trained and qualified?
A: The two major organizations offering Montessori training in the United States are the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI, with a U.S. branch office called AMI-USA) and the American Montessori Society (AMS). Most training centers require a bachelor's degree for admission. Training ranges from 200 to 600 pre-service contact hours and covers principles of child development and Montessori philosophy as well as specific uses of the Montessori classroom materials. Montessori training centers can be found across North America and around the world.

Q: Are Montessori children successful later in life?
A: NAMTA research studies have found that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. They have found that they score well on standardized tests, and are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking thought provoking questions, coming up with creative solutions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations with ease.

A few famous Montessori students

JEFF BEZOS – Founder of Amazon

SERGEY BRIN & LARRY PAGE – Google founders

JOSHUA BELL – Grammy award-winning violinist and subject of a Pulitzer prize- winning media story

BEYONCE KNOWLES – Singer, songwriter, actress and fashion designer,16-time Grammy award-winner

HELEN KELLER – Political activist, author, lecturer, awarded the presidential medal of freedom, one of gallup’s most widely admired people of the 20th century

DEVI SRIDHAR – Youngest-ever American Rhodes scholar, author, oxford research fellow, oxford lecturer on global health politics

NAMTA research studies have found that Montessori children are well prepared

ERIK ERIKSON – Psychologist & Author

PRINCE WILLIAMS and PRINCE HARRY - Heirs to the British Throne