Nurturing one child at a time


Our Posts  |  Montessori Topics  |  Kalpana Gananathan

What is an Authentic Montessori School

An authentic Montessori school follows Dr. Maria Montessori’s curriculum and philosophy. It is child-centric, complements children’s natural ability to learn through sensorial exploration and self-discovery and is committed to the holistic development of every child. Children learn through purposely designed Montessori activities that allow them to explore and understand concepts on their own. The adults in the classroom are mere “guides.” They simply “direct” the children, and learning happens naturally through exploring and completing “activities.”

Fundamental to Dr. Montessori’s approach is acknowledging and respecting each child as a capable individual and placing their developmental needs as the highest priority. As such, children can choose their own activities in a Montessori classroom. The Directress keenly observes them and directs each child independently when needed to guide them to achieve their highest potential. As children gain confidence, they are allowed to initiate group activities.

An experienced Montessori teacher knows the development needs of every child in her classroom. Keen observation is critical to this understanding so that she can provide the freedom for each child to gain confidence while guiding them toward self-learning activities to achieve their highest potential.

A Montessori classroom features a three-year age mix, allowing children to collaborate and learn from one another. In this setting, the older ones take responsibility and be kind and accommodating, while the younger ones learn to observe, listen and adapt.

While the Montessori curriculum fosters physical and mental abilities through practical life, sensorial, math, language, and culture activities, the three-year mixed group cultivates other critical life skills. Skills such as respect, kindness, consideration, compassion, communication, collaboration, responsibility, and leadership all come naturally and in abundance in an authentic Montessori environment.

There are no rewards and punishments (this baffles the parents the most) in a Montessori environment. No “time-out” corners or reward “stickers. Only respectful, carefully considered encouragement and redirection. Confidence and self-esteem come from a child’s internal sense of pride in his/her accomplishments, and Montessori’s self-directed learning activities are designed to create this sense of accomplishment and confidence without external rewards and punishments. An authentic Montessori environment instills the love of learning, and our children come to school each day enthusiastically to learn.

An authentic Montessori program develops well-rounded children who are academically adept, independent, confident and socially fit.

Main Characteristics of an Authentic Montessori School:

  1. Respect for the children at the core
  2. Adherence to the Montessori philosophy – Curriculum and teaching methods with a focus on holistic development
  3. Montessori-trained, experienced, caring staff
  4. Enhanced learning environment – well-organized classroom, authentic Montessori materials, clean spoken language and respectful behaviour towards one another
  5. 3 year age group
  6. Intrinsic rewards. No extrinsic rewards or punishments. No time-out corners.

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