”Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.” — Maria Montessori
The Montessori Philosophy has been around for more than 100 years. Montessori schools can be found worldwide. All of them share the same materials and a foundation rooted in peace education.
Some of the unique qualities of a Montessori education include:
- Multi-age grouping
- Child-centered, hands-on learning
- Individualized work with a sense of purpose
- Educating the Whole Child
In a Montessori school, children are grouped by ages: 3-6 years, 6-9 years (1st-3rd grades), and 9-12 years (4th-6th grades). The multi-age grouping encourages children not only to learn from their peers, but also enables the older children to support the learning of younger children. When given the opportunity to teach others, it reinforces their learning and helps them retain the information.
In the Montessori classroom, there is a great deal of time for children to be leaders and teachers. Older students are joyful when they are able to give a younger student a lesson.
Child-Centered, Hands-On Learning
The Montessori Philosophy is about respecting the child, allowing each child to explore the world around them. Dr. Maria Montessori, a physician, formulated this educational philosophy by observing children’s developmental needs. Through her research, Dr. Montessori found that children naturally absorb knowledge from their surroundings. So she created a coordinated universe of hands-on materials intended to develop a child’s love of learning, independence, concentration, and curiosity, throughout his or her stages of development. The Montessori Philosophy teaches and builds educational skills through hands-on learning and discovery.
Individualized Work with a Sense of Purpose
Children perform well academically in a Montessori program because each lesson builds on the individual child’s curiosity. The child’s thoughts are heard, considered, and pondered. He or she understands that going through the learning process and asking questions is important and encouraged. In Montessori education, solutions are discovered—rather than given—in a way that encourages and sparks the curiosity of the child.
Classrooms and schedules at CMA are orchestrated to support the process of learning. Long work times allow children to choose assignments and work for hours without interruptions. In traditional education methods, children are frequently required to change subjects—which makes large projects more fragmented and difficult. The long work periods a Montessori classroom provides allow children the time and space to perform a more in-depth discovery of the subject being explored.
Educating the Whole Child
A true Montessori Philosophy works on the entire child, including their social and emotional development.
Studies published by American Montessori Society have founds that students who attend Montessori educational programs have the ability to communicate orally, cooperate, think critically, and to view the human experience and how it relates to the constantly changing world.
Every day, children are given the opportunity to learn social skills such as resolving disagreements in a peaceful manner, or collaborating with others on a project. Children learn skills that will last a lifetime, such as planning out their time, being intrinsically motivated, and socializing in a respectful manner. Thinking and problem solving in all areas of learning is rooted in this philosophy.
Montessori teachers receive specialized training above and beyond the requirements for traditional educators. They are trained to closely monitor students’ progress, keeping the level of challenge high. Teachers ask the right questions and lead the children to discover the answers for themselves. Learning then becomes its own reward and each success will fuel their desire to discover even more!
Teachers at CMA have four primary goals:
- To awaken the child’s spirit and imagination.
- To encourage their normal desire for independence and high sense of self-esteem.
- To help them develop the kindness and self-discipline that will allow them to become full members of society.
- To help them learn how to observe, question and explore ideas independently.
Comparing Montessori and Traditional Education
|Traditional Approach||Montessori Approach at CMA|
|Children grouped chronologically, one age group per class||Age span of three years in a class|
|Heavy emphasis on grades and marks||Self-development as prime motivation|
|Much information dispensed by teacher and lecture||Children learn by direct contact with content, e.g., mathematics models, sensory materials, maps, etc.|
|Teacher corrects student errors||Materials are self-correcting|
|Class, as a group, studies one subject at a time||Children study various subjects individually or in small groups in various parts of the classroom|
|Schedule of classes lasting 45 to 50 minutes each||Child follows their “inner teacher”; they are allowed long blocks of time for concentration and work completion|
|Relatively frequent interruptions: bells, teacher interruptions||Relatively few interruptions allowing for sustained study and concentration|
|Class seated at desks much of the time||Students work at tables, or on the floor, with freedom of movement|
The Montessori approach is based on scientific evidence, and has been a part of numerous scientific studies that speak to the positive academic outcomes of students attending Montessori education programs.
In a study published by in the professional Journal of School Psychology, preschool students were tested both at the beginning and end of a school year. Those who attended an authentic Montessori school (like CMA) scored higher in multiple areas, such as: executive functioning, reading, math, vocabulary, and social problem-solving.
Central Montessori Academy is currently a member of the American Montessori Society, which underscores our commitment to offering a certified, traditional Montessori program.