The Montessori Education system is based upon the theories and work of an Italian physician named Maria Montessori (1870-1952). The guiding principles of the Montessori Method are: respect for the child’s natural development, focus on developing independence, and giving the child freedom over his or her learning with methodical guidance. Maria Montessori believed in the ‘full development’ of the child; by nurturing his or her physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual needs, and that the teacher could release all the latent human potentialities in the child.
A typical Montessori classroom is characterized by mixed age groups, in which the children engage in uninterrupted blocks of work and learn by working with materials rather than through direct instruction.
Each child develops at an individual pace that is tailored to his/her strengths, challenges, and interests, while interacting with both older and younger peers. The teacher guides each child through small exercises in which the child is anticipated to succeed. Over time, the exercises increase in difficulty but because the progression is well planned and gradual, the child does not struggle in the learning process. Learning is built upon the child’s successes.