FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Here you will find some frequently asked questions regarding some of the teaching methods which we employ.

MOST FREQUENT QUESTION

Who was Maria Montessori?

She was an Italian physician and educator, the first woman to receive a medical degree in Italy. Born in 1870, she developed her method of education early in this century. She devoted her life to the education of children and was honored and respected throughout the world at the time of her death in 1952.

What is the Montessori Method?

The Montessori Method is a method of education which emphasizes the potential of the young child and which attempts to develop this potential by means of a prepared environment utilizing specially trained teachers and special teaching materials.

Why did Maria Montessori develop her special teaching method?

She developed her method because she was so distressed with the usual rigid teaching techniques. Feeling that the young child had more potential than educators realized, she began to develop this potential by a sensorial approach (teaching the young child through his natural interest in exploring the world through his senses.

What is the meaning behind "The Absorbent Mind"?

This term was used by Montessori to differentiate the process of learning in the very young child from that of the conscious process of the older child or adult. The young child takes in impressions from everything in his environment. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it. It is the result of this process that the language first spoken and mannerisms first manifested will be a reproduction of those absorbed from the child’s immediate environment.

What is the "Sensitive Period"?

The term “Sensitive Period” is Montessori’s name for age periods when the child shows unusual capabilities in acquiring particular skills. A modern name for this phenomenon might be “windows of opportunity.”

What is the Montessori concept of "Freedom"?

Freedom is a goal, not a starting point. A free child (or adult) is one who has developed his potential and prefers to work out problems for himself but is capable of asking for and receiving direction when necessary. An undisciplined and unskilled child is not free but is a slave to his whims and moods and is excessively dependent on others. The free child, of course, grows into the free adult.

What is the Montessori concept of discipline?

Montessori discipline is an “inner discipline” – control which the child develops over his own behavior through his interest in the Montessori environment and materials. Dr. Montessori noted that many so-called undisciplined children were really frustrated by lack of proper stimulation and would become happier and self-controlled after a period of time in a Montessori class.

How large are the Montessori classes?

The ideal size of a Toddler Montessori class is 18 children per 2 adults. It is important to leave your child in the Montessori environment for a minimum of two years if any of the advantages offered in the environment are to be absorbed by the child. The teacher’s job is not to ‘teach’ in the usual sense, but to encourage the child to ‘learn how to learn’.