Montessori teachers act as guides to a child’s independence. The teacher gives each child a presentation of a concept using specifically designed equipment. The child is then free to explore the material and learn through self-correction. The teacher’s observation of the child helps to plan for future lessons.
Maria Montessori believed that play is the work of the child. Through curiosity, the child is able to explore their environment and work with desired materials at their own pace.
Montessori classrooms can seem chaotic because of the many activities that may be happening simultaneously. However, the work of each independent child differs from his/her peers.
Maria Montessori started the first Montessori classroom in 1907 in Rome. The system of education has not lost its vogue in the intervening 100 years. For many years this was the style of education many schools followed across the world and hence Montessori became synonymous with pre-schooling. In reality it is a very scientifically designed children oriented curriculum. It is by the virtue of its design an evergreen education programme.
Montessori children are able to more easily adapt to change. Material based and hands on learning in Montessori paves the way for a strong academic foundation. More often than not the Montessori children have out-performed the traditional school children when tested. The grace and courtesy lessons that they are taught in Montessori helps them to easily adjust to meeting new people and landing on their feet wherever they go.
Although Maria Montessori began her practice working with preschoolers, the Montessori classroom has expanded to reach Montessori students of all ages including the high school years. In fact the Montessori elementary programme for the 6 to 12 year olds was developed by Maria and her son Mario Montessori while they were living in India.
Montessori curriculum is presented in a cross-curricular approach so children are often learning more than one content area at a time on a deeper level. Research projects allow for further exploration of a topic and allows the child to follow their interests as well.
The respect the teacher shows each child is a model for children to respect each other. Young children interact with each other and with the adults, as they gradually become more giving and more sensitive to others. The two to three-year age span within each class causes the learning of younger children from older ones, which occurs naturally. Montessori respects the child and their need for privacy on occasions. Older children often tutor and assist the younger children and children may work together or by themselves as they choose.

Some believe that Montessori is chaotic and unstructured, while others believe it is too structured. They believe that children sit and work all day and aren’t allowed to move around. In a Montessori classroom, children actually have the freedom of walking around the classroom, completing work in the order that they choose. There are no time constraints in the classroom. What this actually means is that within a 3 hour work cycle, children can visit the sensory materials or the practical life and then move onto Math’s. Another great thing is that when they’re interacting with the materials, ‘work’ feels more like ‘play’ which engages them even more.

The environment is actually very carefully prepared and rich with developmentally appropriate learning materials that pique their curiosity and interests, which leads the way they learn. They can explore their interests. If children are taught independence from an early age, which a large amount of emphasis is put on then they are much more likely to be motivated to learn. Teachers move about the classroom, guide and encourage children to challenge themselves in areas they are exploring as well as new areas. Teachers are trained observers and help children to grow intellectually as they master skills and content. In fact, in the lower grades, children learn to create their own work plans for the day which include the basic areas such as math’s, reading, cultural, science and more. This self-management lays a crucial foundation as they move into higher grades.
Montessori children often advance well beyond levels achieved in traditional schools. This has been proven by their results. There are often comments that Montessori children are very bright and beyond their years academically when they are put into traditional schools. This also is proven as they move into high school.