"Montessori" redirects here. For the founder of the method, see Maria Montessori. For other uses, see Montessori (disambiguation).
"Montessori school" redirects here. For a list of Montessori schools, see List of Montessori schools.
Children working with a moveable alphabet at a Montessori school
The Montessori method of education is an educational method developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori. Emphasizing independence, it views children as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a sufficiently supportive and well-prepared learning environment. It discourages some conventional measures of achievement, such as grades and tests. Montessori developed her theories in the early 1900s through scientific experimentation with her students; the method has since been used in many parts of the world and in public and private schools alike.
Mixed-age classrooms: classrooms for children ages 1,2 or 3 to 6 years old are by far the most common, but 0–3, 6–9, 9–12, 12–15, and 15–18-year-old classrooms exist as well
Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
A constructivist or "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials rather than by direct instruction
Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators often made out of natural, aesthetic materials such as wood rather than plastic
A thoughtfully prepared environment where materials are organized by subject area, within reach of the child, and are appropriate in size
Freedom within limits
A trained Montessori teacher who follows the child and is highly experienced in observing the individual child's characteristics, tendencies, innate talents, and abilities.
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