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We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry ..... Maria Montessori
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How We Are Different?

“My vision of the future is no longer people taking exams and proceeding then on that certification ... but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity through their own effort of will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual…The child must create his interior life before he can express anything; he must take spontaneously from the external world constructive material in order to “compose”; he must exercise his intelligence freely before he can be ready to find the logical connection between things. We ought to offer the child that which is necessary for his internal life, and leave him free to produce.” ----- Dr. Maria Montessori

One of the first differences an observer entering a Montessori classroom sees is that the environment is child-centered versus teacher centered in most traditional settings. The tables and desks are not in rows facing the teacher standing at the blackboard. Children of various ages are spread out through the room working together or engrossed in their own individual work. The room is filled with the steady hum of activity throughout. Rarely is the teacher’s voice heard above that of the children talking quietly to each other as they work.

Through her observations, Maria Montessori, found that children learn best in a multi-aged grouping, which is another difference you will find when observing a Montessori classroom. According to her observations of social and academic levels she found that the classrooms would work best in 3-year segments. Primary would consist of 3-6 year olds; elementary levels would consist of Lower, ages 6-9 and Upper, ages 9-12; Middle would include children 12-15. As you can see, the ages overlap because the Montessori Method looks at each child individually and moves them on to the next level when they are ready both socially and academically. Older children have the opportunity to hear presentations again, reviewing and reinterpreting information, while younger children hear more advanced presentations and when they are ready can be included. Older children gain confidence when they help the younger child by reviewing basic concepts. By teaching, they learn; through learning, they teach.

In most traditional school settings, academics tend to be the only focus, whereas, the Montessori Method focuses equally on social development and academic goals. Dr. Montessori wrote that it would be impossible to bring about mutual consideration and social development if children were kept motionless, seated side by side, because these conditions did not allow relationships between children. Through conversations the children are encouraged to solve problems by talking directly with one-another, with minimum teacher intervention.

The adult in a Montessori classroom is called a director or directress because they have been trained to be the catalyst and guide instead of a teacher, who in a more traditional school, is a vessel of knowledge in which the child must be filled. It is the directress’ responsibility to provide an environment that is child centered according to their interests and inclusive of sensorial materials presented in “real life” presentations. The child is given the freedom to choose work within an individualized plan, directly related to his or her needs from this structured environment. It is within the carefully prepared classroom that the child is able to unfold spontaneously, encouraging the development of the person within, allowing the child to achieve his or her greatest, fullest potential. As the child begins to develop this inner self, a love of life and learning expands continuously.