The Montessori Philosophy

What is Montessori?

Maria MontessoriDr. Maria Montessori (1870 to 1952), the creator of what is called “The Montessori Method of Education,” was an Italian doctor, philosopher, and educator. She held the distinction of being Italy’s first woman physician.

In her research, Dr. Montessori noted specific characteristics associated with the child’s interests and abilities at each level of development. She posited that a school carefully designed to meet the needs and interests of the child’s would be effective if it were consistent with the basic principles of psychology. Rather than fight the laws of nature; Montessori suggests that we follow the “child,” allowing him to show us how best to foster the development of his human potential.

Children who have been educated using the Montessori Method grow into competent learners who know how to learn and love learning. The solid foundation begun early in life creates self-confident, contributing adults. – from The Early Childhood Years (3-6), published by the American Montessori Society.

The Montessori classroom is commonly referred to as a “prepared environment.” This term reflects the importance of creating a learning environment which reinforces a child natural curiosity, independence, and intellectual development. An important element of this prepared environment is the use of special Montessori materials.

Based on her studies of the children’s learning, Dr. Montessori noted that most children do not learn from memorizing what they hear from their teachers or read in a book, but from concrete experience and direct interaction with their environment.Montessori materials are designed to facilitate concrete learning in every area of the curriculum.
For a more detailed explanation of the Montessori Education philosophy, contact Reggie The Queen Montessori School.


Frequently Asked Questions about a Montessori Program

Q: Are children allowed to do whatever they want?

A: In a Montessori classroom, a child is allowed to do whatever he/she wants and for as long he/she wants. The child in a Montessori environment may choose his own work, however he first must be given a lesson on it. The lesson is usually presented by the teacher. The child may work on the material as long as he likes. The Montessori teacher is trained in observation. The teacher keeps careful records of what lessons have been given, observes the child and his choice of activities, and checks each child’s knowledge in one area before moving on to the next lesson. The teacher will offer an alternative to a child who has chosen something beyond his ability. The child is free to move about the classroom at will, to talk quietly to other children, to work with any equipment that he understands, or to ask a teacher to introduce a new material. A child is not free to disturb other children or to misuse the materials.

Q: How do you handle discipline problems?

A: There are few discipline problems in a Montessori classroom. At Queens Montessori we follow guidelines set out by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Most discipline problems occur because the child has not found work, which is sufficiently interesting to hold his attention. Therefore the child would be shown a new activity or activities. A child may be asked to remove himself from the group to a space within the classroom, that is designated as the “quiet spot” to take a few minutes to “quiet his body”. We show the children how to calm themselves and regain control during circle time. The child may return when they feel they are ready to manage themselves for the activity. If a child disturbs another child, physically or verbally a teacher will intervene and say ” I will not let anyone do that to you, and so I cannot let you do it to somebody else”. If appropriate, the child is asked to apologize to another child. 

Q: How do the children learn to socialize and share?

A: Socializing and learning to take turns comes very naturally in a Montessori classroom. There is only one of each material in the classroom. This teaches the child patience and learning to wait for an activity when another child is using that material. As you look around the room you will see many children working together. Many times a child is so excited about what he is able to do that he wants to give a lesson or a demonstration to someone else. Throughout the day there are opportunities for this natural, spontaneous socializing.

Q: How do the children do in other schools after a Montessori education?

A: Montessori children are wonderfully adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in-groups. Since they have been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make choices and manage their time well. They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas and to discuss their work freely with others and good communication skills ease the way in new settings. Research has shown that the predictor of future success is a sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs based on self-directed, non-competitive activities, help children develop good self images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism. 

Q: How can I get more information on the Montessori Method?

A: There are many websites which are dedicated to the Montessori philosophy and method. In addition there are many books available, we recommend: The Absorbent Mind, The Secret of Childhood, The Discovery of the Child all by Maria Montessori. Montessori a Modern Approach by Paul Polk Lillard and A Parents Guide to the Montessori Classroom by Ailene Wolf.