Frequently Asked Questions about Montessori

  1. What is the purpose of the Montessori school?

    The purpose of Montessori is to help children develop within themselves the foundation for a lifetime of creative learning, i.e. to develop the basic ideas, attitudes and skills essential for success in school and in life; a thirst for learning, favorable attitudes toward school, habits of concentration, of basic functional creativity and originality.

  2. Who was Maria Montessori?

    Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator and the first woman to receive a medical degree in Italy. Born in 1870, she developed a psychologically rooted system for educating children. She devoted her life to this work and was honored and respected throughout the world at the time of her death in 1952.

  3. Why did she develop her special teaching method?

    Feeling that the young child has more potential for self learning than most educators realized, she began to develop this potential through a sensorial approach, (teaching the young child through his natural interest in exploring the world through his senses.

  4. What are "Sensitive Periods?"

    Senitive periods are Montessori's name for age periods when the child shows unusual capabilities in acquiring particular skills, The sensitive period for acquiring a sense of order is between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years of age for the average child. For precise movement and coordination, 2 1/2 to 4, which leads to reading and numbers at age 4 to 5.

  5. What is the Montessori method?

    The Montessori method is an approach to education which emphasizes the potential of the young child (under age five), and which attempts to develop by means of a prepared environment, utilizing specially trained teachers and uniquely designed learning materials and apparatus having an inherent appeal to the pre-school age child.

  6. What is the Montessori concept of discipline?

    Discipline is the prerequisite condition for learning. Montessori discipline is an "inner discipline", an inner control, which the child develops over his/her own behavior through working with the Montessori materials. Dr. Montessori noted that many so-called undisciplined children were frustrated due to the lack of proper stimulation and inadequate opportunity to achieve, She noted that they became happier and self-controlled after a period of time in a Montessori class in which they experienced challenging tasks absorbing their energies and resulting in a sense of achievement.

  7. At what age should a child enter Montessori?

    Age 2 1/2 to 3 years old,

  8. What happens to children who transfer from a Montessori to a public or parochial school?

    It is usually recommended that an Achievement Test be given so as to assure proper placement of the children. After leaving the Montessori environment, the children may go directly to first grade. If they transfer at age 6 to 10 years old, they sometimes are advanced one year. Older children are much more suitable for transfer because many schools now make provisions for advanced pupils in higher grades. Much depends on the school, however, and each situation should be evaluated separately. Montessori children are quite adaptable since they have learned to work on their own without constant supervision.

  9. How large are Montessori classes?

    The ideal size of a Montessori class is 20. It is important that there not be too few pupils in a class; the teacher's job is not to "teach" in the usual sense, but to encourage the child to "learn how to learn."

  10. Is the child free to do what he chooses in the classroom?

    The child is free to move about the classroom to talk to other children, to work with any equipment whose purpose he/she understands, or to ask the teacher to introduce new material to him/her. S/he is not free to disturb other children at work or to abuse the equipment that is so important to his/her development.

  11. What does the teacher do?

    The teacher works with individual children, introduces materials, and gives guidance where needed. One of the primary tasks is careful observation of each child to determine their needs and to gain the knowledge the teacher needs in preparing the environment to aid the child's growth.

  12. What does Montessori do for the child?

    The goals of Montessori for children are several: it encourages self-discipline, self-knowledge, independence, and enthusiasm for learning an organized approach to problem-solving and academic skills.