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Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development. Click here for list of famous pupils who have been educated using the Montessori method. Essential Elements:

* Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2-6 years old by far the most common
* student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
* uninterrupted blocks of work time
* a ‘constructivist’ or ‘discovery’ model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
* specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators

Montessori Education Theory:
Self-Construction, Liberty, and Spontaneous Activity Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic elements. First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments. Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development. Based on her observations, Montessori believed that children at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared according to her model would act spontaneously for optimal development.

Montessori identified the following list to build on in a child's early education:

* work, also described as "purposeful activity" * manipulation of the environment * orientation to the environment * the 'mathematical mind' * self-preservation * communication * self-perfection * exploration * order * exactness * repetition * abstraction

In the Montessori approach, these human tendencies are seen as driving behavior in every stage of development, and education should respond to and facilitate their expression. Prepared Environment Montessori's education method called for free activity within a 'prepared environment, meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics and to the specific characteristics of children at different ages. The function of the environment is to allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives. In addition to offering access to the Montessori materials appropriate to the age of the children, the environment should exhibit the following characteristics:

* an arrangement that facilitates movement and activity
* construction in proportion to the child and his needs
* beauty and harmony
* order

Age: 0-6years old:
The first phase of education extends from birth to around six years of age. During this period Montessori observed that the child undergoes striking physical and psychological development. The first plane child is seen as a concrete, sensorial explorer and learner engaged in the developmental work of psychological self-construction and building functional independence. Montessori introduced several concepts to explain this work, including the absorbent mind, sensitive periods, and normalization.

Pedagogy : Montessori method.
Aside from a new pedagogy, among the premier contributions to educational thought by Montessori are: * instruction in 3-year age groups, corresponding to sensitive periods of development (example: Birth-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15 year olds). The Montessori way treats children as competent beings, encouraged to make maximal decisions with observation of the child in the prepared environment as the basis for ongoing curriculum development (presentation of subsequent exercises for skill development and information accumulation).

Small, child-sized furniture and creation of a small, child-sized environment (microcosm) in which each can be competent to produce overall a self-running small children's world.

Creation of a scale of sensitive periods of development, which provides a focus for class work that is appropriate and uniquely stimulating and motivating to the child (including sensitive periods for language development, sensorial experimentation and refinement, and various levels of social interaction).

The importance of the "absorbent mind," the limitless motivation of the young child to achieve competence over his or her environment and to perfect his or her skills and understandings as they occur within each sensitive period. The phenomenon is characterized by the young child's capacity for repetition of activities within sensitive period categories (Example: exhaustive babbling as language practice leading to language competence). * self-correcting "auto-didactic" materials (some based on work of Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and Edouard Seguin).

Use of Montessori Name: Montessori is a descriptive and generic term and can be used freely without guaranteeing how closely or, if at all, a program follows/applies to Dr. Montessori's work.

Key Differences between Montessori, Traditional and the CIS customised approach to Education:-

Montessori: based on helping the natural development of the human being
based on the transfer of a fixed stock of knowledge
CIS: Both

Montessori: children follow their own individual interest in deciding what to learn
children learn accordingly to a set curriculum which is the same for everyone
CIS: The children learn at their own pace and style, but we help each child to be stimulated to follow our customised curriculum.

Montessori: children teach themselves using materials specially prepared for the purpose
: children are taught everything by the teacher
CIS: We adopt a 'hands-on' approach, but leave the children 'to discover' for themselves.

understanding comes through the manipulation of materials and the promotion of children's ability to find things out for themselves
Traditional: learning is based on the memorisation of facts and is limited to what is given.
CIS: We create the environment for each child to excel with activities that will enhance their emotional, regulatory and social development as well as increase their maths and language skills through structured teaching.

"The foundation for a learning journey through life."


Dr Montessori was an Italian lady who became the first woman doctor in Italy in 1896. She joined a psychiatic unit specialising in children, where she found many problems associated with children were not of a medical nature but educational problems. Later she was appointed professor of Anthropology and Hygienics at Rome University. Maria Montessori's approach to education was scientific, using the classroom as her laboratory for observing children and finding ways to help them achieve their full potenial. Children have an absorbent mind and although certain fundamental patterns are hereditary, individual behaviour is shaped through interaction with the environment, i.e. learning through experience. Her first school was set up in 1907 in Italy and in 1912 one of her students set up the first Montessori school in the USA. Dr. Maria Montessori travelled extensively, lecturing about her discoveries and writing articles throughout the rest of her life. By 1925 schools based on her findings were springing up all over Europe and by 1940 were being established in India. Her innovative practices in the classroom and scientific aproach to children's education have had a profond influence on the way we now educate young chilren and will continue to be the foundation of a philosophy of freedom and self development for children but with a practical approach. Her approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child with the firm belief that a child's early years up to 6 years old are the period when they have the greatest capacity to lean. Dr. Maria Montessori was a life long advocate of the cause of the child and referred to herself as an ambassadress. She advocated that by chidren first working independently, observing others wil result in co-operation which enhances the feeling of security and stimulates further exploration of their world. A by-product of this experience is respect for others and for the environment. If you are interested in reading in greater detail an interesting sudy by Dr. Maria Montessori can be viewed here.


Famous Montessori Pupils 
- have included amongst others:
(Click Here for
More Information and photos)

Jeff Bezos
- founder of Amazon
Sergey Brin* - attended in Maryland, USA
Larry Page*
- at Montessori school in Michigan, from age 2-6 - co-founders of Google
Jimmy Wales
- founder of Wikipedia credits his intellectual curiosity to the influence of the Montessori method on his early education
Jackeline Kennedy Onassis - as a young girl age 6
wife of JKF, 35th president of the USA
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- nobel prize for literature. His book "100 years of solitude"
Katherine Graham
owner/editor Washington Post
Yo Yo Ma
George Clooney
hollywood actor
Sean Combs - musician, record producer
and singer under the stage name P. Diddy

* In 2009 Forbes Magazine voted them the 5th most powerful people in the world with President Hu Jintao coming 2nd behind the US President Barack Obama.