Montessori Teaching

Maria Montessori:
Dr. Maria Montessori was an accomplished woman born into a time in history that did not readily adopt new ideas, particularly those established by women, into the mainstream.  After years of study, observation and practice, she concluded that children teach themselves with the gentle assistance of a trained guide and teacher.  This simple but profound truth inspired Montessori's lifelong pursuit of educational reform, changes in methodology and teacher training - all based on her dedication to furthering the self-creative process of the child.  Now her techniques, methods, and successes have been clearly recognized and incorporated into thousand of schools all over the world. 

The basic Montessori concepts are:
1. The child proceeds at his own pace in an environment prepared to provide means of  learning.
2. Imaginative teaching materials are the heart of the process.
3. Materials are self-correcting, enabling the child to proceed at his own pace and discover his own mistakes.
4. The teacher observes and guides the child to the appropriate learning path and materials.
At Brooks Montessori School,  we strive to carry out the teachings of a remarkable woman whose discoveries have been continually reaffirmed as the most effective method of beginning a child on the road to learning and development.

Questions Most Often Asked About Montessori Schools:

How is a Montessori Class Structured?
A Montessori class is upgraded with an age spans covering several years (3-6) (6-9) (9-12).  There are a wide range of activities available to the children at all ages and maturity levels, which reinforce and make possible the Montessori ideals of individualized work, success and independence.  The combination of differences allows the children the opportunity to learn from each other and permits the older children to reinforce their knowledge by sharing their skills with the younger children.  The third year at the Early Childhood level (Kindergarten age) is of unique importance and we encourage five-year old children to remain with the Early Childhood level class.  Montessori is a developmental educational program allowing the children to progress at their own pace.

What is the role of the teacher in a Montessori Classroom?
Since Montessori believes that children learn best through their own efforts, the role of the Montessori teacher is that of an "objective observer." The teacher's job is to prepare an environment that teaches - constantly adding new materials for the child to learn specific concepts.  The teacher's job is to help the child achieve independence and accept responsibilty.  Teachers are trained to identify learning challenges and recognize developmental delays so that the child can get help at the earliest possible time.

How are Montessori teachers trained?
There are training programs for certifying teachers in Infant/Toddler, Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.  Each program consists of Montessori philosophy, academic studies, observation, internship and research.  Training is available through nine major training associations requiring private Post Secondary Education authorization.  Many colleges/universities offer Montessori Certification as part of their Education Program.  Qualified Montessori Teachers earn a diploma which they display proudly in their classrooms.

Are there any group activities in a Montessori class?
Although the emphasis in Montessori is on a child's ability to grow and progress on an individual basis, there are ample opportunities for them to socialize with the other children in the class.  There are regular gatherings of the class as a whole for activities such as lunch, linetime, storytelling, music, planning for future events and for discussion of matters relating to the group as a whole.  We encourage a community spirit among each individual class and from each class to the school as a whole.

What is the Montessori concept of discipline?
The Montessori curriculum provides the child with challenging work, whereby the child learns to focus and complete meaningful tasks.  Dr. Montessori found that many undisciplined children were really frustrated by the lack of proper stimulation for their minds or by adult interference.  When a child's intellectual energies are used in a constructive manner there is none left over for mischievousness or deviation.  When the children are totally absorbed and happy at what they are doing, then a true "inner discipline" is achieved.

Is Montessori affiliated with a religion?
Montessori is not affiliated with any religion. The Montessori curriculum is used worldwide by church schools as well as private and public schools.

Is there a testing program?
Parents should be aware that the Montessori environment is exceptionally broad and experientially rich for children.  It does not simply demand specific grade level achievement for young children; rather it encourages an interest and an excitement in all learning endeavors.  The test is only one way to measure the child's progress.
Written progress reports are given out three times per year.  Conferences with the teacher can be arranged at any time.  The teachers are trained to test children with the use of the Montessori learning apparatus and move them ahead as they are ready for new skills.  Teachers keep the parents informed when a child is having a learning challenge in any area.

How will my child respond when leaving the Montessori environment for another school?
The goal of a Montessori education is that children will develop problem solving skills to help them adjust to any new situation - socially or academically.  Children develop a strong self-image because of the successful accomplishments they have had every day at Montessori school.  Sometimes children are more advanced in their studies compared to a traditional curriculum and will need enrichment activities to challenge them.  The Montessori philosophy sets no limits on what children can achieve.  Individual children learn at different rates and those differences are respected.  Some children miss their freedom to make choices and move freely in their environment.  Peer teaching is encouraged in Montessori and they may not find this philosophy embraced in other programs.  It has been our experience that most transitions are made quickly because children are flexible and adjust.