There are 20,000 Montessori schools in the world and 5,000 in the United States. It is the only educational system that is based solely on the developmental needs of each child, rather than being an adult construct that the child fits into. Millions of children have benefited in the approximately 120 years since is inception. Click here for a list of famous Montessorians.
As a parent interested in a Montessori education for your child, it is important to educate yourself about the characteristics of an authentic Montessori program.
Following is a list of 8 Optimal Conditions for Learning and Development, from Angeline Lillard’s Book and DVD, “Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius.”
- Movement—the child is able to move freely about the classroom
- Child Control—the child is in control of their own learning.
- Interest—the child is engaged and stimulated.
- No Extrinsic Rewards—we look toward building intrinsic motivation.
- Social—learning takes place in a social environment.
- Meaningful Contexts—learning is related to the real world whenever possible.
- Positive Adult Interaction—the child develops a close relationship with the teacher.
- Organized Environment—the environment peaceful and orderly and thus prepared for optimal learning.
Secondly, here is list from internationally-known Montessori scholar Michael Dorer:
Seven Characteristics of an Authentic Montessori Environment:
- Trained Adults—each classroom has a credentialed Montessori teacher.
- Depth of Time—the child is allowed to focus on their work for extended lengths of time.
- Multi-age Groupings—starting at 3 years old, classrooms are organized in three-year age groupings. The child comes in as a follower, and leaves as a leader.
- Cosmic Curriculum—the child is inspired by the vast history of the universe and the timeline of life.
- Prepared Environment—the teacher prepares the environment and the child does the learning.
- Sensorial Hands-on Approach—the child uses hands-on materials independently to accomplish learning.
- Basis in Montessori Theory—Montessori works when it is done consistently and properly.
We hope these lists are helpful as you learn more about Montessori principles and explore this dynamic, creative, and inspiring system of education for your child.