Montessori is a child-centered approach that respects the whole child. It is a curriculum that acknowledges that there is no “cookie cutter” four year old, or “typical” third grader. Montessori teachers believe that for the best learning to occur, children must be met where they are at in the learning process. They must be allowed autonomy and choice in learning practice through freedom within loving limits. Through real work opportunities and choice, Montessori classrooms produce children who are confident, accountable, and intrinsically motivated. Montessori teachers know that learning can be joyful, and with the presence of that joy – learning will be more effective.
Thoughtful and Observant Teachers/Guides
The educator's (a.k.a. guide) primary roles are to both carefully prepare the environment to reflect the needs of the children and to regularly observe and take notes on the students in order to better prepare the materials and the classroom. The guide observes his/her students to identify “sensitive periods” or moments when a child may have an easier time learning a concept, and then scaffolds that learning need with lessons and the appropriate materials. There is no expectation that children all perform or learn the same lesson, at the same time, or in the same way. The environment is constantly evolving and adapting to meet the needs of all the children.
Increased Creativity in Montessori Students | Besancon, M. & Lubart, T. (2007)
Published in Learning and Individual Differences, 18, 391-399
A Parisian study conducted in 2007 studied the differences in the development of creative competencies in children schooled in diverse learning environments. This two-year study examined creativity development in first through fifth graders in four Parisian schools. Overall, students who attended Montessori performed higher on creativity tests and achieved higher levels of creativity over the two year study period than students in the other three schools.
Academic & Behavioral Advantages among Montessori Students | Lillard, A. & Else-Quest, N (2006)
Science, 313, 1893-1894
Probably the most famous study published in Science magazine in 2006 was a quantitative study that examined academic and behavioral skills in students attending Montessori vs. non-Montessori schools. Participants were 59 Montessori students and 53 non-Montessori students, in 5 and12 year old age groups. The data indicated significant advantages among Montessori students in both age groups.
Montessori Students Like their Teachers and Schools | Rathunde, K. &Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2005)
Elementary School Journal, 106(1), 59-79
This study, which focused on how middle school students view their learning environments, peers, and teachers, was a qualitative study that examined affective characteristics in 290 middle school students in Montessori and non-Montessori environments. Compared to students in non-Montessori schools, Montessori students had more positive perceptions of their teachers and learning environments. In addition, Montessori students were more likely to call their classmates their friends while at school.