What does it mean to be an authentic Montessori school?
These are the defining characteristics of an authentic Montessori school:
- uninterrupted three hour work cycles
- mixed aged classes (3-6 yr olds in “Children’s House”, 6-9 yr olds in Lower Elementary, 9-12 yr olds in Upper Elementary, and 12-15 yr olds in “Erdkinder” or Earth School)
- individual or small group lessons
- use of traditional Montessori materials
- children who are able and free to choose their work with the assistance of a teacher guide
- classes that are largely self-regulating so teachers can observe more than they direct
- more adults who observe rather than “teach”
- a learning environment intentionally prepared by teachers and that is normally peaceful
- Montessori trained and certified teachers: Montessori teachers are specifically trained and educated in the philosophy and methodology that Dr. Montessori developed during the early part of the 20th century.
What happens in an authentic Montessori classroom?
In an authentic Montessori setting the following occurs:
- Children work at their own pace while being guided in their choice of work and study,
- Children are encouraged to develop concentration and independent problem solving skills during uninterrupted blocks of work time,
- Peer-learning and community are fostered through multi-age classrooms,
- Self-correction and assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom experience, and
- Students develop strong academic skills in the same disciplines represented in all public schools.