When you visit an authentic Montessori classroom, you will notice it seems more like a private home than a conventional classroom. First of all, the students are not all the same age. This fact reduces competition and promotes cooperation. At each level, the furniture and the activities available fit the developing bodies and minds of the students. You will notice that the adults in the room are not "center stage" as they are in conventional schools. At all levels, there is a respectful rapport between the adults and the children. The teacher does give lessons, either to individuals or to small group. You will see the adults coaching and encouraging students as they practice their lessons. You will also see children choosing many different activities and working quietly at them without disturbing one another.
On the left, you see a child arranging the long stair, or red rods. They are all the same color and the same dimensions with the exception of their length. Many Montessori materials isolate one quality in order to clarify it.
On the right, a child is working with the puzzle map of Africa. When the teacher first presents the map, the child may work it like a puzzle, but later he will learn the names of the countries and begin making his own maps.
Some Differences Between Montessori and Conventional School:
- Ungraded three-year age span
- Teacher is observer/guide
- Child completes activities without interruptions
- Child chooses learning activity
- Satisfaction derived from learning
- Students quiet out of respect
- Children responsible for physical order in class and care of animals
- Environment provides discipline
- Children encouraged to help one another
- Graded one-year age span
- Teacher imparts knowledge
- Children kept on schedule
- School curriculum standard
- Grades and competition (beginning at the elementary level)
- Quiet enforced by teacher
- Teacher responsible for order in class and care of animals
- Teacher provides discipline
- Children compete with one another
History - The development of the Montessori Method and the Montessori Movement internationally.
Resources - Recommended reading and resources for parents.