Frequently Asked Questions

What is the idea behind the Montessori approach to the education?

Dr. Montessori felt that her greatest discovery was that children like to work as well as play. In fact, children have a natural drive to work in order to develop. The child’s great task is to create an adult. As a result, children are not content unless they have an opportunity to develop and learn. 

How does Dr. Montessori’s understanding of the child influence her view of education?

Since Montessori schools are based upon the principle that “the child, not the teacher, is the constructor of man”, it is felt that the teacher can only help the great work that is being done. Education is not what the teacher gives; Education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. Therefore, the teacher’s job is to provide the materials and environment which will aid development and to be ready to respond when help is needed. 

Are Montessori programs recognised?

The Montessori method of education is well-known. There are thousands of Montessori schools throughout the world. An increasing number of public school teachers are becoming interested in the Montessori method of education and many new textbooks on child development and education are referring to the important contributions of Dr. Montessori to the field of children’s education. 

Up to what age is the Montessori program designed?

There are Montessori materials which are designed for use by children up to around 12 years of age. Where most Montessori schools are for those under 6 there is an increasing number of Montessori primary schools which work with children through all primary grades.

There are a few Montessori junior and senior high school programs. Dr. Montessori did discuss the education of children up to the college level, however, she specifically designed materials only for the early and primary years. This was because she felt specially designed materials were only needed for the younger children since the older children would have the competence to learn from materials that are commonly available. 

What is a Montessori Primary classroom like?

Have a look at our In The Classroom page! 

Why should parents consider a Montessori education for their child?

The educational advantages a child receives in life are very important. The child’s personality, outlook, and intelligence are in the process of being formed. For the child to fully actualize his or her potential it is critical that the child be provided the resources and assistance necessary for learning and development. This help can only be provided if based upon an adequate understanding of the child and the processes of their growth and development. 

How do children from a Montessori program compare with children from other programs?

Children learn at their own pace and follow their own individual interest rather then being taught in groups. Children learn through practising tasks rather than through listening and having to remember. The Montessori curriculum is much broader than many other programs. The materials in a Montessori classroom are carefully designed and thoroughly researched to fit the developmental needs and characteristics of each child.

The routine of the Montessori program is based upon the principle of freedom of choice rather than on set times for prescribed activities. Typically, the Montessori child is friendly, generous, co-operative, and respectful of both property and others. 

What is taught in a Montessori program?

In a Montessori program children have the opportunity to learn the same subjects they would learn in any other program. The 3 – 6 year olds develop social, emotional, motor, and perceptual skills, and begin to learn literacy and numeracy. They become more involved with history, geography and science. They learn some handwork as well as practical life skills.

In primary school the curriculum is comprehensive. Parents are usually impressed with both the depth and breadth of the curriculum. Children master the basics early and can therefore spend more time developing these skills. 

What happens to children when they leave a Montessori program?

Children from a Montessori program usually fit in well wherever they go after attending a Montessori program. They are usually respectful, co-operative, self-disciplined, and independent learners. They are usually well prepared to get along successfully in any program. Competence is a firm foundation for success. 

How are children disciplined in a Montessori program?

Most visitors to a Montessori program are amazed at how peaceful, pleasant, and well-behaved the children are. Montessori programs are noted for the self-discipline of their children. Techniques of force or power are not used.

Basically, the child is simply shown in a positive way how to meet their needs. Through this process, non-acceptable behaviour lessens and finally disappears. This makes the classroom a very pleasant place for both the children and the teacher.

The keys to this process are:

  • An environment prepared to meet the children’s needs.
  • A teacher trained in positive, constructive methods of helping children.

Are all Montessori programs the same?

Not every Montessori program is the same. Each reflects the personalities of the adults running the program, so no two Montessori programs are exactly alike and each should be judged individually. It is best to not only ask if a Montessori teacher is trained but also ask to see their qualifications.