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What is Montessori?

Montessori Education Is...

  • A comprehensive system of education with a research based, developmentally appropriate curriculum, specially trained teachers, and a uniquely designed prepared classroom environment for children at each stage of life from infant through high school.

  • Dr. Montessori designed this system in response to her theory of child development and human growth. Her research was conducted worldwide over a 50- year period and has continued to be supported by independent studies verifying her work. (Piaget and Erikson were among Dr. Montessori’s students)

  • For each Plane of Development- distinct patterns of growth and learning in the domains of physical, cognitive, and social-emotional, the system provides supports from the classroom environment, their Montessori trained teacher, and materials and curriculum that students need to optimize each developmental stage. Students remain in the classroom group and with the same teacher throughout the 3- year cycle of each plane.

  • The Montessori educational system is thriving world- wide as it has proven success with students from diverse racial, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds.

  • Montessori teachers are specially trained to work with a multi-age group of students within each Plane to provide a personalized learning experience with a highly sequenced curriculum which meets or exceeds state standards while individualizing to each student’s learning style and rate of learning, and interests.

  • Students have the opportunity to manipulate concrete learning materials which support the development of understanding rather than rote learning, develop creative thinking and problem solving, and provide for active engagement.

  • A Montessori classroom is a community of learners. From the supportive community of the “Children’s House” to service to the greater community at the secondary level, Montessori students have regular, real opportunities to develop positive social relationships, develop conflict resolution strategies, and a growing respect and compassion for self, others, and the environment





Montessori Essentials...

Unfortunately, there is no trademark on the use of the name Montessori. To be assured of a high quality, fully implemented Montessori school, look for:

  • A Montessori credentialed teacher who has graduated from a teacher education program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).

  • A multi-age group of students with a balance of ages in each range who remain with their specially credentialed lead teacher and mentored assistant teacher for the full age cycle, ideally 3 years.

  • A daily schedule that provides a lengthy work period of 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours, and time for play outside.

  • A classroom environment that provides the curriculum and research based materials needed for each developmental level.​​

Benefits of a Montessori Education...for children

    • A system and curriculum that supports the developmentally appropriate cognitive, academic, and social-emotional abilties and skills at each level.

    • A system that prepares student for life, not just college and career readiness.

    • A system that is shown to develop critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication and the important 21st century characteristics of independence, motivation, initiative, and self- confidence.

Benefits of a Montessori Education... for the broader educational community

  • A classroom environment that provides the curriculum and research based materials needed for each developmental level.​​

  • A workforce of highly educated, trained, and experienced teachers, at all levels, with a high rate of retention in the classroom.

  • A cost- effective model with demonstrated success with large groups of children. Materials which are sustainable over time and decrease needed budget for consumables.

  • A system with a successful pre-school-to-third-grade continuum for early childhood, and for students in upper elementary through high school.

  • A system with proven success with a wide range of diversity including low

  • income, racial, ethnic, and cultural and which is inclusive of DLL and special

  • needs students.

  • A model of “school choice” with demonstrated demand.

Research and Resources...

  • Lillard, A.S. (2012)

  • Diamond, Adele (2011)

  • Diamond, Adele (2010)


  • East Dallas Community School (2010)


  • Manner, J.C. (2007)


  • Lillard, A.S. & Else-Quest,N. (2006)


  • Dohrmann, K. (2003)


  • Rathunde,K.. (2003)


  • Vance, T.L. (2003)


  • McAfee, A. Harvard Business Review. (2011)

  • Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind (1995)




Copyright Christine Lowry, M.Ed. 2016. Montessori Now. All rights reserved.

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