What is Montessori? How and What You Need to Begin


Montessori was established by Dr Maria Montessori – who believed that a child (rightfully so) should be in charge and lead their learning. As we know you learn from experiences, and we (parents, caretakers, educators) are our child’s guide through life. This is the key to how Montessori is led and there’s nothing simpler than Montessori (trust me it’s easier than what people make it)


As we try to guide the world of non-certified Montessori parents we have a ton maybe too much information about different parenting styles and what they look like, but let’s get a simple guideline:

  1. Physical Domain
  2. Social Domain
  3. Emotional Domain
  4. Language
  5. Cognitive Skills

These are the basic foundation for many educators like myself who want to give the most to all of our kids and students:


Learning and well-being are improved when children have a sense of control over their lives. (This is pointed more toward Montessori homeschooling) Although if you enter your child into a Montessori program they impose definite limits on this freedom, children are free to make many more decisions than are children in traditional classrooms: what to work on, how long to work on it, with whom to work on it, and so on.


Recent research in psychology has proven that order in the environment is indeed very helpful to learning and development. Montessori contributes to the idea that homes should be very organised, both physically (in terms of layout) and conceptually (in terms of how the use of materials progresses).


Your gut feeling is right: Research has shown that when people learn with the goal of doing well on a test, their learning is superficial and quickly forgotten. Children (and yes, adults, too) learn better when they are interested in what they are learning.


Typically children in Montessori classrooms learn by imitation models, through peer tutoring, and in collaboration. In mixed-age classes, younger children learn from older ones by asking them questions while watching them work. Older children who are teaching younger children repeat and consolidate their knowledge and skills and obtain social skills.


Our brains evolved in a world in which we move and do, not a world in which we sit at desks. Movement and cognition are closely entwined. Education, therefore, would involve movement to enhance learning.


Rather than learning largely from what teachers and texts say to them, children in Montessori programmes learn largely by doing. Because they are doing things, rather than merely hearing and writing, their learning is situated in the context of actions and objects. For example, children go out of the classroom and into the world to research their interests.


Montessori teachers provide clear limits but set children free within these boundaries. They sensitively respond to children’s needs while maintaining high expectations. This kind of ‘authoritative parenting’ seeks a middle ground between a traditional, authoritarian attitude (“Do it because we say so”) and an overly permissive, child-centred approach of other progressive schools.

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