Montessori Methods & Philosophy

A Montessori education exposes children to a highly prepared environment that fosters inner discipline and sparks innate curiosity and motivation to learn.  These patterns of concentration and attention to detail, especially when established early, produce confident, competent life-long learners.

The Montessori curriculum allows children to work individually and in small groups, and progress at their own pace in a non-competitive environment. The teacher prepares the environment, directs activity, and presents stimulating lessons to the children.  Within this rich environment, each child takes initiative and is driven to academic accomplishment.

Within the dynamic Montessori curriculum, lessons emphasize creative problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.  Through Montessori education the child builds character, gains a sense of social and global responsibility, and develops inner discipline.

Maria Montessori

Born in Italy in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first female physician in Italy in 1896. In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn and acquire knowledge. After advancing her practice and attaining a position as professor, she gave up both positions to pursue her interest in childhood learning. She began work with a group of sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. What ultimately became the Montessori method of education was developed here under what she called Casa dei Bambini, or "Children's House."

Increasingly, the Montessori method has gained attention for its emphasis on fostering creativity in children and for developing skills that are relevant in the 21st century such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration.  For some recent commentaries on Montessori, click on the links below:

o    Boston Globe columnist, Alex Beam on Montessori
o    Slate.com blogger, Emily Bazelon on child behavior
o    Forbes columnist, Steve Denning, on Montessori

Birchwood School District

© Kristin Cain Graphics