The Montessori Method
Inside the Classroom
Learn more about the psychological, macro, and micro environment in our classroom.
Learn more about classroom materials and the research behind them.
Effects of Montessori Education
Learn more about the far-reaching effects of a Montessori education.
The Montessori Method vs. Traditional School Programs
Inside the Classroom
The teacher’s role is to observe the children, see what they need, provide materials and activities to address those needs, and provide leadership to guide the child’s interactions with the materials and with other children. The teacher, through his or her leadership, needs to guide the children in developing a positive sense of community and make sure that every child learns how to have friends and belong to the group.
The materials within the Montessori classroom can be divided into four categories. These categories include daily living exercises, sensorial, academic, as well as cultural and artistic. The child is first introduced to materials used to exercise daily living. Such activities involve simple tasks which the child has already witnessed their parents perform at home. Having witnessed these tasks in their own home, the child has a natural desire to imitate the task. The imitation of this task is based on intellectual knowledge based on previous observations. The activities Montessori introduced to practice daily living exercises include washing the table, shining shoes, sweeping the floor, etc. Such activities promote discipline and confidence. After practical life activities are introduced, the child is then ready to move on to sensorial materials. These materials are used to refine and draw attention to the senses such as tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, baric, chromatic, thermic, sterognostic and gustatory. The use of these materials will assist the child in the development of categorizing sense perceptions into an inner mental order. The academic materials in the classroom are used to teach math, writing, reading, language, science and geography. The aim for learning this material is to satisfy the child’s innate desire for learning. It is not to store a quantity of knowledge in the child. The cultural and artistic materials used in the classroom deal with the communication of ideas and self-expression. The child will develop a sense of love and appreciation for music. While studying music, the child will learn basic concepts of rhythm, harmony and melody. The introduction to art and drawing is similar to the foundation of writing. Montessori introduced exercises that develop the muscles of the fingers and hands for holding pencils or paintbrushes for making controlled movements. Montessori laid down the foundation for learning through these four categories. From there, the child is free to explore.
Materials in a Montessori classroom tend to be overemphasized in relation to other aspects of the Montessori method. The purpose of the materials are often confused to the outsider. The aim of the materials within the Montessori classroom is more of an internal approach to assist the child’s self-construction and psychic development. The materials provide the child with stimuli that captures attention and the initiation of concentration. The materials within the classroom must correspond to the child’s inner needs. Children are introduced to a variety of different materials based on age level. While observing and experimenting with the child, the teacher then watches for concentration and repetition of their actions with the materials. This represents whether or not the piece of material met the child’s inner needs or not. It will also represent the growth and intensity of the stimulus represented by the child. As well as the meaningfulness of the materials, there are several other principles that are involved in the determining of the materials in the classroom.