What is Montessori?

Many people ask “What is Montessori? And how is it different to a Normal EYFS Nursery”

Montessori is a philosophy, and many nurseries call themselves Montessori Nurseries without having Montessori trained staff or Montessori Materials. This is deceptive to Parents who have no idea what a Montessori Nursery looks like.

Below is a short summary of what Montessori is…

Where does the name Montessori come from?

Dr Maria Montessori is the founder of the Montessori method. She began her educational journey teaching children in a mental institution, convinced that with appropriate techniques she could make a real difference. A number of the children made such significant progress that when she entered them in mainstream examinations, they outperformed other children educated in ordinary schools. Montessori then realised that something must be wrong with the mainstream teaching for this to have happened and she set about researching how children could be better taught.

In 1907 Montessori was appointed as the director of a nursery for 50 three- to six-year-olds in a slum area of Rome, set up by the housing authority to keep the children off the streets. And so began the first “Casa dei Bambini”.

Montessori used the same techniques she had used at the mental institution, allowing the children to work independently and to choose the activities that interested them. She was led by the children and carefully observed how they learnt and what materials they chose to use. She noticed that as the children worked with the materials, they developed considerable powers of concentration and self-discipline. She developed new materials and discarded any that did not appeal to the children. She developed the theories of the Montessori Method based on careful observation of what children revealed about their developmental needs.

What makes a Montessori Nursery different?

  • Montessori moto is “FOLLOWING THE CHILD
  • Supporting the child as an active learner
  • Respecting the inner life of the child
  • Trusting the child’s inner motivation
  • Providing freedom within limits
  • Encouraging the child’s discipline
  • Freedom
  • Work cycle and cycle of activity
  • Vertical grouping
  • Scaffolding
  • The three-period lesson
  • Observation and assessment
  • The empathetic practitioner (role modelling, humble, not interfering in an activity)

What are the Montessori areas?

  • Practical life
  • Sensorial
  • Mathematics
  • Literacy
  • Cultural

What do you notice about a Montessori Classroom?

  •   Its a calm classroom with happy busy children
  •   Children of different ages in the same classroom
  •   Montessori materials are laid out neatly around the classroom on wooden shelves
  •   A sense of structure and order
  •   Neutral colour walls
  •   Calm, composed teachers
  •   A work cycle in which children are free to choose activities
  •   A rolling snack bar supporting independence