Montessori Method - Little Wonders Montessori

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Montessori Method

The History of Montessori

Inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori and her novel work, Helen Keller wrote that "Children will educate themselves under the right conditions. They require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction."

Based on her observations of young children in Italy during the early twentieth century, Dr. Montessori developed a child-centered curriculum that is now used and celebrated around the world. Montessori has come to mean education for life; more specifically, a continuous education that evolves through a child's use of all of his or her senses in the learning process. Designed for manipulation and experimentation, Montessori materials promote independence and creativity. Specialized tools allow a child to progress at his or her own pace, whether that means beginning to read at age four or painting landscapes at age five.

The Montessori Approach

The Montessori approach to education succeeds because it draws its principles from a child's natural development. That is to say, preschool-age children naturally learn through sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing, but, on their own, classify acquired information in a largely random fashion; Montessori materials and exercises provide logic and structure to this information. And, the method's inherent flexibility lets it adapt to the needs of each individual, regardless of ability level, learning style or social maturity.

Montessori classrooms provide a planned environment where children are free to respond to their natural drive to work and learn. Each child's innate love of learning is encouraged as he or she is given the opportunity to engage in spontaneous activities under the guidance of trained adults. Among many other qualities, Montessori-educated children develop concentration, motivation, persistence and self-discipline. In short, children progress at their own paces and rhythms, according to their individual capabilities, within an ordered framework.

The Montessori Teacher

The role of a Montessori teacher is that of a guide and observer whose ultimate goal is to intervene less and less as the child develops. The teacher builds an atmosphere of calm, order and intellectual curiosity in the classroom, and promotes self-confidence and discipline by encouraging the child in all his or her efforts. Teachers are most active with the younger students at each level, demonstrating the use of materials and presenting activities based on an assessment of the child's needs. Knowing when to observe and when to intervene, and how, are skills the Montessori teacher develops during a rigorous, specialized course of training.

Primary Period (3-6 years old)

Children in the primary program possess what Dr. Montessori called the absorbent mind, the ability to absorb all aspects of their culture and environment without effort or fatigue. During this period of a child's self-construction, individual work is encouraged. The following areas of activity cultivate the children's adaptation and ability to think and express themselves with clarity:

Practical Life

Practical Life exercises instill a commitment to caring for one's self, for others and for the environment. Activities include many of the tasks children see as part of the daily routine in their homes, such as preparing food, washing dishes, saying "please" and "thank you" and asking to be excused from the table. Through these tasks, children develop muscular coordination and a sense of social responsibility.


Sensorial materials aid children in building cognitive skills and learning to classify impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening and generally exploring the physical properties of their environment.


Language development is vital to human development. The Montessori environment is rich in oral language opportunities, allowing children to experience conversations, stories and poetry. Sandpaper letters, for example, help children link sounds and symbols effortlessly, encouraging the development of written expression and reading skills. Then, to further reading development, children are exposed to the study of grammar.


Math-based activities help children learn the concepts of math by manipulating concrete materials. This work gives children a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles, prepares them for later abstract reasoning and helps to develop problem-solving faculties.


Geography, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art and Music are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities. Children learn about people and cultures in other countries with an attitude or respect and admiration; through familiarity, children come to feel connected to the global human family. Lessons and experiences with nature inspire a reverence for all life. And the comprehensive art and music programs let children enjoy a variety of creative activities, as well as gain knowledge of the great masters.

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