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About Montessori

Montessori Principles of Education

Maria Montessori reading a book surrounded by children

The Montessori method of education began in 1906 by Dr. Maria Montessori and was based upon her scientific observations of a group of 60 young children of working parents in Rome. In response to Dr. Montessori’s repeated observations of the children’s almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials, she developed educational equipment, exercises and methods to encourage how the children learn “naturally.”

In a Montessori environment, through collaboration with observant teachers who assist with goal-setting and assure steady achievement, children move themselves towards learning.

The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an aid to life. Montessori education is designed to help children’s educational development as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child.

Montessori in the Classroom

  • The inherent flexibility allows the method to adapt to the needs of the individual, regardless of the level of ability, learning style, or social maturity.
  • Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural drive to work and learn. The children’s inherent love of learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, meaningful activities under the guidance of a trained Montessori teacher.
  • Through their work, the children develop concentration, motivation, persistence, and discipline. Within this framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities.

Traditional vs. Montessori Approach to Education

Traditional and Montessori comparison table


Is Montessori only for preschool?

No, Montessori education continues throughout elementary school.  Elementary aged children no longer have an “absorbent mind” that allows them to absorb knowledge.  They begin to develop a “conscious mind” where learning takes more effort. Children aged 6 to 12 have heightened imaginary thinking, desire for moral order, intellectual independence, and desire to be social.  These traits are fostered in elementary Montessori classrooms through child-led learning, space to move and explore their learning environment, and a holistic approach to learning. 


Isn’t a Montessori education expensive?

It doesn’t have to be.  While many private Montessori schools are costly, Community Roots is a public charter school offering the same Montessori education at no cost to families.


How will my child adjust to a traditional school after being at a Montessori school?

Many parents have concerns about their child’s academic and social transition into a traditional school.  The Montessori method helps students develop coping skills through confidence, independence, and social skills. The Montessori method has been shown to have long term academic benefits .


How do teachers track student progress?

Throughout each day, the teacher observes each student as they complete their work. Teachers keep track of social, emotional, and academic development that is shared with parents at parent teacher conferences twice a year. Our Tier II Support Specialist works with students one-on-one if they need extra support.


Why are students in mixed age groups?

Students are broken up into lower elementary (grades 1-3) and upper elementary (grades 4-6).  The mixed age groups allow for students to learn from each other.  Older students are able to help younger students, which solidifies their own knowledge.


How does the school handle discipline?

Discipline in Montessori schools is different from traditional classrooms. In Montessori, there aren’t harsh punishments and discipline.  Instead, teachers work towards regulation and logical consequences for actions.  If a child is having a hard time, the teacher will take them aside and talk to them in a gentle way.  Teachers guide students to resolve conflict with each other and address emotions tactfully. 




Additional Montessori Resources

Lillard, Angeline Stoll. Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005. An in-depth treatment of current scientific research regarding how children learn best.

Lillard, Paula P. Montessori Today. New York: Random House. 1996. Outlines the Montessori philosophy from birth to adulthood then focused on Montessori elementary education, spanning the child’s years from 6-12.