Montessori environments are beautiful, peaceful, and alive with movement and sound. Students, whether 5 or 15 years old, move about the classroom to take things off shelves, to discuss a project with a classmate, to put things away. Some are working alone, bent over a mat on the floor or sitting at a small table. Some are gathered around a teacher, in conversation during a lesson. Others are engaged in collaborative work with other students.
In a Montessori classroom, order and creativity coexist. Animated conversation and silent observation work together in the same space. In the best environments, children of all races and cultures learn side by side.
Through careful observation of how children work and interact, Maria Montessori developed what we think of as the Montessori Method more than 100 years ago. She began her work in the slums of Rome, and her vision has spread throughout the world.
The Montessori approach offers children intentionally prepared environments that are full of beauty and order. Materials in the classroom are appealing and designed to meet the developmental needs of each child. Montessori-trained teachers are the bridge between the environment and the student, first through careful observation of each child, and then by providing appropriate instruction and guidance.
What do children in a Montessori classroom gain? In addition to learning the subject areas they need to know, they get this knowledge through their own desire to learn, by following their passions and making connections. Their learning reaches far beyond tests. They learn by doing things, working collaboratively, making mistakes, and solving problems. Montessori education guides them to emerging fully in the world.