What is the Montessori Method of Teaching (8 Important Montessori Principles)

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The Montessori method of teaching is becoming popular today. More and more parents are adopting the Montessori mindset. This is because Montessori education aligns with modern parenting styles and goals.

What is the Montessori Method of Teaching

What is the Montessori method of teaching? The Montessori method of teaching is child-centered. It focuses on child-led activities, hands-on lessons, and collaborative play. It aims to develop the individual student’s emotional, intellectual, social, and physical development so they can reach their maximum potential.

The classroom is tailor-made for children of specific ages. The Montessori method of teaching matches the child’s interests with the available activities in the classroom. Teachers design their lessons to foster each student’s growth and independence.

In her book, The Secret of Childhood, Dr. Maria Montessori believes that;

“When a child is given a little leeway, he will at once shout, ‘I want to do it!’ But in our schools, which have an environment adapted to children’s needs, they say, ‘Help me do it alone.'”

8 Principles of the Montessori Method of Teaching

The Montessori method stands by the belief that every child is unique. It recognizes that different children learn and develop at different paces. The Montessori method of teaching is based on 7 key principles.

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    1. Free Choice

    The classroom is equipped with materials and activity stations that are tailor-made for individual students. In this setting, the children are allowed to pick the activity they want to do, who to do it, how long, etc.

    This principle allows the students to have a sense of control to empower them and encourage growth.

    2. Order

    The physical and conceptual flow of the classroom is organized to facilitate learning. The materials and activity stations are laid out progressively so that the students have a sense of order. This supports the child’s learning and growth.

    3. Interest

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    When the child is interested, they easily learn. The Montessori method takes the child’s interest and uses it as a tool for teaching. Learning is easy when the student loves what they are doing.

    4. Learning from Peers

    In the Montessori classroom, kids are encouraged to mingle and share activities with other students of different ages. Students of different ages are grouper. With the supervision of the teachers, students teach and learn from each other.

    5. Movement

    Unlike traditional classrooms where students sit at a desk in front of their teachers all day, Montessori students are encouraged to move around and do various activities. By doing so, children learn in real-time by experiencing things.

    6. Context

    Learning by doing. This is a key principle in Montessori education. Children learn and retain the learning when they experience the lesson instead of just reading it or hearing it from their teachers.

    Getting to witness a moth morph into a butterfly will help students understand better compared to reading and seeing pictures from books behind their desks.

    7. Teacher Guidance

    The teachers guide the activities, not lead. They let the children lead the activities. The teachers go from station to station to check on the students. they don’t stand on a platform in front of the students. Teachers provide more hands-on and individualized guidance.

    8. Three-Year Cycle

    The Montessori method of teaching uses the 3-year cycle. This will allow both students and teachers to have enough time to learn from each other. It provides students consistency and security from their teachers, their peers, and their Montessori environment in general

    The Montessori Classroom and How it Works

    The Montessori classroom does not look like the traditional classroom where it is filled with desks and chairs. The Montessori classroom is designed differently.

    • Toys, learning materials, and activity stations are provided instead of desks and chairs.
    • Non-traditional grading system.
    • The classroom is designed to fit the needs of the students.
    • Students work individually or as a group.
    • Lessons, activities, and materials are built around the child’s skill set.
    • Children are allowed to work at their own pace.
    • The classroom looks like a giant playroom.
    • Teachers move from one student or group for individualized guidance and feedback.
    • Students are allowed to discover and explore the classroom.

    Benefits of the Montessori Method of Teaching

    The Montessori Method of teaching provides opportunities for reaching the student’s maximum potential. Its major benefits are the following:

    • It gives the children pride in their individuality.
    • Because of the 3-year cycle and multi-age classroom groupings, the Montessori method gives students a sense of community. They feel they belong.
    • Students develop a love for learning.
    • Increased curiosity.
    • Children are encouraged to find answers to their questions.
    • Children enjoy freedom within the limits of the classroom.
    • Students become more independent.
    • Students learn to nurture order.
    • Increased concentration.
    • Children learn self-correction and self-assessment.
    • Montessori students develop strong social-emotional skills compared to students from traditional schools.

    Disadvantages of the Montessori Method of Teaching

    The pros outweigh the cons, that’s for sure. We still find it important to share the disadvantages of the Montessori method of teaching so that parents are equipped and guided accordingly when making a decision.

    Disadvantages of the Montessori Method of Teaching
    It is not for everybody
    Relaxed/loose curriculum
    Too much independence can be harmful


    Do Montessori students do better than traditional students? Yes, they do. According to research, Montessori educated students to learn better and are happier. They are better academically than traditionally trained students.

    Is the Montessori method of teaching effectively for children with special needs? Yes, it is. Montessori classrooms foster the child’s interests and individuality. This environment is better for children with special needs because they are given one-on-one attention. Their program will be custom-made for their special needs. This is a more comfortable and safe space for them.

    Are there specific types of students that are not suited for Montessori? No. The Montessori method of teaching is good for all kinds of students. Advanced and gifted students will do better while students who are not doing well in traditional schools can improve greatly because of the individualized approach. Students with special needs are better accommodated too.

    What is the best age to start Montessori? The early childhood level is the best time to start your child at Montessori. This is between ages 2.5 to 6 years old.

    Final thoughts

    The Montessori method of teaching allows children to develop, learn and work at their own pace. It is focused on self-motivated cognitive, emotional, social, and physical growth.

    Its child-led activities, hands-on lessons, and collaborative play will mold children into excellent students and better individuals. The tailor-made activities, lessons, materials, and activity stations are great tools for academic growth and a fun learning experience.

    Parents must understand the what’s and how’s of Montessori education. Choosing the right school for your children is a crucial decision that can set them on the right path to academic excellence.