What is Montessori?

Maria Montessori 1870-1952

* Considered what it was a child really needed to learn, and how best to convey those lessons * Saw the child’s innate desire to work, to be industrious
* Saw the considered and gentle choice of language as key
* Devised materials designed to encourage progression

* Recognised the need for a child to feel useful, to belong, and to be allowed to work independently
Montessori schools can be found all over the world. She spent years in India and left as her legacy a very large Montessori movement there. Australia and America have huge Montessori school communities.

We regularly hold workshops and seminars for parents and teachers interested in finding out more.

You might like to read: 

Paula Polk Lillard 

Barbara Isaacs
Tim Seldin 

(Montessori herself)

Some common myths about Montessori

* Montessori has religious affiliations
Not at all. That idea seems to have stemmed solely from the similarity of the name to the word

* Montessori is exclusive
Not really. In the noughties the then UK government agreed to fund several Montessori state primaries, and even now the grants for two and three year olds can be used in Montessori nurseries. The Montessori primaries that exist now in the UK are primarily fee paying, but in the US and elsewhere there are also free schools and charitable trusts offering Montessori education.

* Montessori teachers don’t teach
Well we dont always use the word teacher, but director, facilitator or guide, because we guide a child towards independence. The child learns through self correcting materials. The teacher steps back and observes, and plans for the next lesson.

* Montessori is all work
Play is the child’s work. We prefer the use of the word work. The child is naturally curious, and given the opportunity he will explore the environment and work with the materials at his own pace.

* Montessori classrooms are chaotic
No. They are busy and full of children working independently. They are not all sat behind desks listening to the teacher. They are doing work that is right for them.

* Montessori is just the latest trend  

The Montessori philosophy has been popular in the UK and US since the 1960s.

* Montessori Children will find it hard to transition to mainstream schools
Not really. They will have learnt to adapt to change, to apply grace and courtesy, to listen and learn.

* Montessori is only for gifted or disabled children
All children can learn with the materials, and find their own pace, not held back by others, nor under pressure to hit targets.

* Montessori is just in nurseries
No, it’s an approach to education from Babies and Pre School through to adulthood

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