What is the Montessori Approach to Learning (8 Amazing Guiding Principles)

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Montessori education aims to provide more than just academic skills to students. It aims to prepare children into becoming productive members of society during and after school.

What is the Montessori Approach to Learning

Montessori uses a more hands-on approach compared to traditional schools.

What is the Montessori approach to learning? The Montessori approach to learning is child-centered. It uses self-directed activities, collaborative play, and experiential learning. It employs highly-trained Montessori teachers to guide and support the students. Let us discuss this further.

8 Guiding Principles of the Montessori Approach to Learning

It is based on the main Montessori principle that if a child’s interests are nurtured, they are more open to digesting new information. Here are the guiding principles of the Montessori approach to learning.


Montessori respects children and their potential. They are considered smart individuals whose opinions and values are valued just as much as adults.

While children are respected in Montessori schools, they in turn are taught to respect others and their environment.

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    Prepared Environment

    Each Montessori classroom is prepared and logically arranged according to the child’s needs and learning goals.

    Every area and activity in the classroom is designed to support each child’s developmental needs.

    As students learn, change, and progress, the Montessori classroom changes too. The classroom becomes whatever the child needs at the moment.

    The lessons and the classroom setting are adjusted accordingly for the student’s optimum cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.


    Within the controlled Montessori environment, children are allowed to discover and explore.

    As children discover things in their environment, they also discover their strengths and weaknesses. They make mistakes and improve from them. It makes for deeper learning experiences and fosters a love for learning.


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    Montessori education considers imagination as a form of intelligence. It is important to nurture that.

    The Montessori classroom supports children’s imagination through open-ended sensory activities. This will give them opportunities to explore and be creative with their imagination.

    Sensory exploration is a building block of imagination.

    Freedom of Choice

    Freedom in the Montessori sense does not mean children can do anything they want. The Montessori environment is planned, rules are set, and there are clear, firm, and reasonable boundaries or limits.

    In Montessori, freedom of choice without boundaries is considered abandonment.

    Freedom within limits helps children develop self-regulation. Characteristic children need in the real world.

    Hands-On Learning

    Hands-on learning, in Montessori, means engaging the whole self – body, mind, and senses.

    Experiential learning allows for deeper learning and better retention. It follows the natural inclination of children to learn through age-appropriate activities.


    The main goal of Montessori education is to prepare children to become independent and productive members of society.

    Children are taught to do things on their own through intellectual, social, and practical experiences. Teachers guide them as they navigate each task.

    A Montessori-Trained Adult or the Teacher

    The Montessori teacher is the main link between the child and the curated environment.

    Teachers play one of the most important roles in Montessori learning. They impose the rules and reinforce boundaries.

    Teachers guide and provide support, and encouragement so students master their lessons.

    The Montessori Classroom

    Majority of the teaching happens in the classroom. Outside activity is a big part of Montessori learning but most of the activities are done inside.

    The Montessori classroom is not your typical desk-and-chairs setup. It actually looks like a giant playroom or a playhouse.

    It is organized and peaceful with different places for children to learn. There are child-sized furniture, low shelves and drawers, cleaning tools, utensils, dish wares, and learning materials. All these are placed strategically for progressive learning.

    What Do Montessori Schools Teach

    Montessori education teaches students in all aspects of life.

    • Academics including Mathematics, Sciences, Language, etc.
    • Important life skills like cooking, cleaning, etc.
    • Social and emotional skills like patience, tolerance, conflict-resolution, self-regulation, etc.
    • Cognitive skills like problem-solving, focus, memory enhancement, etc.
    • Physical skills like sports, flexibility, etc.

    The Role Parents Play in Montessori

    Montessori learning does not end in school. Montessori is a way of life. It must be applied at school, at home, during playtime, and in all aspects of the child’s life.

    Montessori education starts with the parents. It is the parents who decide to choose Montessori learning.

    Montessori schools give parents detailed reports about the activities and the progress their children are making. This is not only to keep them updated but to help parents continue the activities at home.

    Parents need to cooperate and work with the teachers to support the child’s Montessori goals.


    Why is the Montessori approach to learning different? It is different because it does not follow the traditional method where the teachers talk/teach and the children listen. It is not like in traditional schools where the textbooks and the teachers spoon-feed children information. The Montessori approach does not use textbooks, exams, or grades. It uses proven learning activities that are chosen by the students while teachers observe and guide them. Children are encouraged to learn on their own using the given materials.

    Why is the Montessori approach to learning better for gifted children? It is better for gifted children and average students as well. It focuses on addressing each child’s developmental needs. This means each child gets the right attention, the proper tools, and enough time to learn and grow.

    Is it hard to get into Montessori schools? No. Getting your kids in Montessori is not hard. It works just like other schools where parents get their child listed. A consultation or an interview may be needed. It all depends on the availability of Montessori schools in your area. Montessori classrooms are small in number. If there are not a lot of good Montessori schools in your area, it might be a little hard.


    The Montessori approach to learning has been used for over a century but it is new to some parents. It is an approach to learning that is child-centered. It uses self-directed activities, collaborative play, and experiential learning. It employs highly-trained Montessori teachers to guide and support the students.

    The goals of Montessori education are aligned with the parent’s goals for their children’s education. It is indeed child-centered.