What is Montessori ?

The Montessori system was created by an Italian woman, Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori had as her watchwords LOVE, WATCH and WAIT. 

In the Montessori classrooms the teachers’ task is not to dominate, but to ‘draw out’ the minds of the 3, 4 and 5 year olds, to teach them to learn reading, writing, mathematics, music and manners, by the use of dozens of different playthings – toys which really are tools to be used to awaken thought, logic, personal relationships and abstract conception.” 

The method allows the child to make his own choices, exercise courtesy, be independent and enjoy learning - but how? 4 Steps: 
(1) Check this website                         

mariamontessori.com created by Montessori Heads of schools in the U.S. (MAA). The website gives an insight to the philosophy and publishes a blog about Montessori education. 

(2) Visit a Montessori school nearby and take notes of the children's activities. You will notice a buzzing-humming  sound of active children. Each of them may be engaged with a friend or on their own with different unique materials. 
(3) Check the accreditation of the school - look for AMI certification, Department of Education certification, and Office of Childcare approval. 
Look at the Frequently Asked Questions for more info. 

One of the most reliable sources of information about "What is Montessori?" can be found on NAMTA , The North American Montessori Teachers' Association,  a membership organization open to parents, teachers, and anyone else interested in Montessori education. Some of the more interesting reading is in the section titled Common Misconceptions about Montessori Education.

Peter Davidson, Chairman of MAA, Board member AMI, Head of School, describes Montessori in 100 words:

"As a scientist, Maria Montessori discovered something surprising:
When children are active participants,
when their choices are respected and guided, and
when responsibility is expected and nurtured,
a new child emerges.
This child’s characteristics are concentration, self-discipline, love of learning, and a respect for others and the world.
This child is our best hope for the future.
Share the hope.  Experience the surprise.                                                    Visit a Montessori school today."

Steven Hughes, Ph.D, L.P, pediatric neuropsychologist, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Neurology, University of Minnesota Medical School. American Board of Pediatric Neurophysiology, describes Montessori in 100 words:

"Montessori is a brain-based developmental education method that allows children to make creative choices in how they discover the people, places and knowledge of the world.  It emphasizes hands-on learning, self-expression and collaborative play in a beautifully crafted environment of respect, peace and joy."

Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Steve Hughs.