The Montessori method is an
educational method for children, based on theories of child development
originated by Italian educator Maria Montessori in the late 19th and early
It is applied primarily in
preschool and elementary school settings, though some Montessori high
The method is characterized
by an emphasis on self-directed activity on the part of the child and
clinical observation on the part of the teacher (often called a "director",
"directress", or "guide").
It stresses the importance of
adapting the child's learning environment to his or her developmental level,
and of the role of physical activity in absorbing academic concepts and
It is also characterized by
the use of autodidactic (self-correcting) equipment to introduce various
Although there are many
schools which use the name "Montessori," the word itself is not recognized
as a trademark, nor is it associated with a single specific organization.
The Montessori philosophy is
built upon the idea that children develop and think differently from adults;
that they are not merely "adults in small bodies".
Dr. Montessori advocated
children's rights, children working to develop themselves into adults, and
that these developments would lead to world peace.
The Montessori method
discourages traditional measurements of achievement (grades, tests) under
the premise that it is damaging to the inner growth of children (and
Feedback and qualitative
analysis of a child's performance does exist but is usually provided in the
form of a list of skills, activities and critical points, and sometimes a
narrative of the child's achievements, strengths and weaknesses, with
emphasis on the improvement of those weaknesses.
All learning first comes to
us through the senses. By isolating something that is being taught, the
child can more easily focus on it.
Culture includes both the
studies of the world and various cultures.
Children go from a very
concrete understanding of math to a more abstract concept.
Every activity has its place
in the classroom and is self-contained and self-correcting. The original
didactic materials are specific in design, conforming to exact dimensions,
and each activity is designed to focus on a single skill, concept, or
Currently, the United States
is the only country in the world to have an extensive commitment to the
With over 8,000
Montessori schools, the U.S. significantly leads the other three major
demographics in the world - the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.
Although AMI operates
training centers in multiple countries, Montessori in the United States has
by far shaped the future of the pedagogy.
To date the U.S.,
Canada,Australia and the Netherlands are the only countries to incorporate
Montessori schools in public systems.
In comparison, Australia, the
second largest market, has fewer than 200 Montessori schools, most owned by
Montessori Unlimited, a franchising company. Further, the U.S. has three of
the four Erdkinder schools in the world.