Montessori environments for infants, and classrooms from preschool through high school, are based on a different philosophy of education in comparison to that experienced by most of us.
Rather than beginning with a school / society - dictated set of lessons, the Montessori “guide” (as the teacher is usually called) builds on the natural human tendencies toward exploration, hard work, creativity, and communication, to create a learning environment which feeds the evolving passions of the children.
When the environment meets all of the needs of children, they become, without any manipulation by the adult, physically healthy, mentally and psychologically fulfilled, and extremely well educated.
In the following quote, Dr. Montessori speaks of the first Casa del Bambini (Children’s House) in Rome, illustrating her important discovery, the core of all Montessori work today:
‘When the children had completed an absorbing piece of work, they appeared rested and deeply pleased. They exhibited a great affability to everyone, put themselves out to help others and seemed full of good will.’
Our intention is to enable children and young adults to gather knowlegde and experience, to learn to question and evaluate it, and act independently and with confidence. So, in each act of transmitting knowledge, we are also seeking to encourage traits of self-awareness, sociability, self-motivation, active curiosity, discipline, responsibility, and self-reliance. These are the assets our students will come to rely on as they face new situations, in school and throughout their lives.
Today, there are research projects of all kinds being carried out on the results of a Montessori education. As children progress through true Montessori preschools (3-6), primary, secondary, and high schools, they become progressively more independent and responsible in action and thought. They move out into society and become thoughtful and responsible adults. Often, they develop such excellent study habits that they surpass the level of the curriculum of traditional schools.