• Montessori Method

    Philosophy

    Dr. Montessori wrote: “To aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator.” The guiding concepts of Montessori schools are: 

    • Learning occurs best in a nurturing, prepared environment that promotes spontaneous cooperative inquiry. 
    • Children are naturally driven to learn. Through hands-on activities and interaction with other people, children instinctively work to construct their inner selves. 
    • Children should be respected as whole, unique and valuable individuals.

    Physical, emotional, social, spiritual, aesthetic, and cognitive needs are inseparable. The Montessori curriculum provides an orderly framework that frees children to progress according to their individual capabilities. 

    • The aim of Montessori schools is to assist children in developing habits of concentration, initiative, persistence and joy in learning. 
    • By fostering security, self confidence and independence in children, Montessori schools enable children to develop into people who respect and care for themselves, others, the environment and all life.   

    Teacher Preparation

    PGCPS Montessori teachers are certified both by the Maryland State Department of Education and by an accredited Montessori teacher education program.   Montessori training is the equivalent of a year of post-graduate course work.  The Association Montessori Internationale and the American Montessori Society provide nationally and internationally recognized certification on the Montessori curriculum and method. In these and other MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) accredited training courses, teachers learn to use the extensive array of Montessori learning activities. Elementary level teachers spend many hours mastering specific scientific, geographical, linguistic and historical concepts that are central to the elementary Montessori curriculum. Math training at all levels ranges from simple numeration to abstract geometric and algebraic theories. A holistic method of teaching reading is learned, incorporating both comprehensive instruction in phonics skills and a thematic, integrated “whole language” approach.

    Montessori teacher training encompasses extensive instruction in human growth and development. Teachers explore ways to observe and respond to individual learning styles. They study the specific sensitivities of each age group of children, and develop classroom leadership skills that foster a nurturing learning environment, such as class meetings and peace education. Positive, gentle and encouraging interactions with children are emphasized. Respect for children, and the willingness to encourage children to grow in a non-competitive environment are essential. 

    Montessori Materials

    Montessori classrooms are equipped with Montessori materials designed to address particular developmental needs of children at different ages. Dr. Montessori created activities that identify and sequence the steps children go through as they work to achieve each educational outcome. Each material presents one step in the learning process. The concept that the child is to discover is isolated. Furthermore, the materials are self-correcting to encourage children to solve problems independently. This builds self-confidence, analytical thinking, and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. “The didactic material...does not offer to the child the content of the mind, but the order of that content... The mind has formed itself by a special exercise of attention, observing, comparing, and classifying.” (Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook)   

    The materials interrelate and build upon each other. They are presented sequentially over the years a child spends in the program. For example, students studying the binomial theorem in Algebra will recall experiences with a three-dimensional puzzle in pre-school called the binomial cube. Similarly, ideas of congruency, similarity and equivalence are first presented as pre-school puzzles called the constructive triangles. The concepts are extended at the elementary level into further detail in vocabulary and materials, leading more advanced students towards the discovery of the theoretical formulas and applications. 

    Planes of Development

    Dr. Montessori based her educational method on observations of children in their natural settings in many countries with diverse cultures. Universal patterns of human behavior which she observed brought her to three main conclusions: 

    • That human development does not occur in a steady, linear ascent but in a series of formative planes; 
    • That the complete development of human beings is made possible by their tendencies to certain universal actions in relation to their environment; and 
    • That this interaction with the environment is most productive in terms of the Individual’s development when it is self-chosen and founded upon individual interest. (Montessori Today, Paula Polk Lillard) The four planes of development identified by Dr. Montessori are the two planes of childhood (birth to age twelve), and the two planes of adolescence. (ages 12 to 24).   

    1. Children before age six have a sensorial relationship to their environment. Montessori primary classrooms are designed for children age three to six. Learning through their senses, three to six year old children strive to sort out all the impressions they receive as they work to acquire coordination, concentration, order and independence.   

    2. Six to twelve year old children have a different learning style. They are social and outgoing, exploring their environment through intelligence and imagination. They are deeply interested in all that humans have discovered and developed. Lower elementary classrooms house children age six to nine. Upper elementary classrooms are designed for students age nine to twelve.   

    3. Middle school students from twelve to fourteen years of age are grouped together. At this level students emerge into a broader community, becoming humanistic explorers. They seek to discover their place in society and ponder what they will contribute to it. The classroom atmosphere encourages inquiry, creative problem solving, cooperation, and social interaction. Mixed-age groups free children to enjoy their own accomplishments rather than comparing themselves to others. Older children provide leadership and guidance, and benefit from the satisfaction of helping others. Younger children are encouraged by attention and help from older children. They learn through observation of older children. At the same time, older children reinforce and clarify their knowledge by sharing it with younger ones. Children easily learn to respect others, and at the same time develop respect for their own individuality. This interaction of different age children offers many occasions for building community,  as well as nurturing the development of self-esteem. This encourages positive social interaction and cooperative learning.   

    The Prepared Environment

    Dr. Montessori observed natural learning characteristics of children at each stage of development and provided for them with her educational method. The prepared environment presents children with the possibility of freedom and opportunities to develop self-discipline. The classroom environment is prepared to support six basic developmental drives shared by all children.   

    1. Exploration: Children need to explore, from their first efforts to conquer the home environment to the subsequent drive to reach out into the community and the world. Montessori classrooms provide abundant, age appropriate hands-on activities designed to provide opportunities for exploration and movement. 

    2. Orientation: The need for orientation and order are provided for by establishing predictable classroom routines, and by carefully sequencing activities on shelves by subject area. Montessori classrooms are designed to encourage calm, orderly independent learning and exploration. 

    3. Imagination: Human tendencies for imagination and abstraction are given free rein throughout the vast scope of the elementary curriculum. Each part of the curriculum begins by presenting children with a big picture. This is followed with diverse ways for them to explore subjects that capture their imagination. 

    4. Repetition: Opportunities for repetition and manipulation of materials allow children’s discoveries to become part of their broad background of knowledge. Children work on activities at their own pace, choosing materials they would like to use and working for as long as the material holds their interest. 

    5. Precision: The drive toward precision and perfection inclines each child to imagine solutions, try them out, and if successful, use them to solve real-life challenges in the prepared environment. 

    6. Communication: Finally, communication through language allows children to cooperate with others, learn the wisdom of the past and make their contributions to humanity.   

    Children delight in working whenever the work leads to a sense of discovery. They gain the same feeling of worth from purposeful activities in school that adults experience as they go to their jobs and do their “work.”  This delight in learning and sense of worth are as much a focus of the Montessori curriculum as the details of what the children learn.  

    “Education is not something which the teacher does; it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but by virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child. Individual activity is the one factor that stimulates and produces development, and that this is not more true for the little ones of pre-school age than it is for the junior, middle, and upper school children.” (Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori)   

    The Three Periods of Learning

    Montessori teachers present lessons to students based on three phases of learning, called the Three Periods. First, material is presented with the goal of arousing the student’s interest, enlarging their vocabulary, and sharpening their observational skills. This is the Montessori First Period. The First Period engages the students’ imagination and presents the “big picture.” The child begins to formulate the questions which lead to exploration in the next stage.   

    The Second Period offers many opportunities for independent exploration by children. The purpose of the Montessori second period is to stimulate children to investigate various aspects of the topic. The Second Period offers students many opportunities to explore, formulate explanations, and elaborate upon prior knowledge. Opportunities for repetition and manipulation of materials allow children’s discoveries to become part of their broad background of knowledge. Sometimes there are planned explanations by the teacher, but more often learning takes place through independent and small group activity. In the elementary, much of the material the teacher presents during this Second Period is in response to the questions students have generated. Frequently, rather than answering those questions directly, she will either help the students find books or articles which provide answers, or ask other children in the class to share what they have learned. Second Period activities include hands-on materials, reading and writing assignments, and independent research opportunities.  

    Mastery of the material in Montessori is called the Third Period. At the elementary level, mastery is demonstrated through a great variety of products of learning, including   posters, paintings, collages, dioramas, murals, timelines, models, poems, songs, written and oral reports, graphs, tables, skits, puppet shows, videos, and multi-media presentations.   

    Freedom with Responsibility

    Montessori observed that when children are allowed freedom in an environment  suited to their needs, they grow in inner discipline and peace. After a period of intense concentration working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and contented. An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, adds to the child’s energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery. 

    Children are motivated by their drive for self-development. Long blocks of uninterrupted time (two and a half to three hours), provide opportunities for them to develop problem solving skills, to see the interdisciplinary connections of knowledge, and to explore creative ideas. Children work independently, in small, collaborative groups, and as a whole class community. Independent activity makes up the majority of the children’s work. The logical, sequential nature of the environment guides discovery and stimulates both creative thinking and thoughtful analysis. Montessori classrooms invite children to work enthusiastically to develop themselves. 

     

    Montessori Curriculum

     

    Primary Curriculum for Children Three to Six Years Old

    From birth to three years, children mentally absorb the environment as they register sensorial impressions. Montessori called this phase the “unconscious absorbent mind.” The PGCPS Montessori Program begins with the second stage of the “absorbent mind,” from three to six years of age. In this stage of self-formation, the child focuses intensely on the development of coordination, concentration, order, independence, and language. Three to six year olds go through periods where intense power and interest are concentrated on one capacity. Dr. Montessori called these “Sensitive Periods.” These critical, but transitory, time frames in which children work on one specific area of development to the exclusion of all others is observed and aided by the teacher, as the child “creates himself.”  

    The Practical Life Curriculum is an education in movement. The challenge of the child from birth through age six is to complete the formation and refinement of the physical body. Dr. Montessori designed a child-sized environment that gives children the opportunity to engage their whole bodies in exercise which perfects now one movement, now another. The primary classroom has materials for washing, pouring, measuring, sweeping, tying laces, buttoning, table setting, and a host of other real-life, child-sized “work.” 

    • These and other activities help children develop coordination of large and small muscles as well as increasingly precise eye-hand coordination. 
    • Because the practical life exercises are deeply satisfying to them, children repeat the exercises over and over, learning to persist in a task from beginning to end, and building capacity for concentration. “The work is refreshing and not tiring because of the interest which one takes in all his movements. They provide a motive and urge the child on to organize his movements.” (Maria Montessori, Discovery of the Child)
    • The exercises also help to develop in the very young child a strong and realistic sense of independence and self-reliance. The activities are designed to reflect work children see everyday as part of the daily life in their homes. They develop a growing pride in being able to “do it for myself.” 
    • Part of the practical life curriculum focuses on developing skills that allow children to effectively control and deal with the social environment in which they live. The “exercises of grace and courtesy” introduce positive human relation skills to the children, and offer opportunities to practice skills in isolation, then apply them in peer interactions. Practical life begins as soon as the young child enters the school and continues throughout the curriculum to more and more advanced tasks appropriate to oldest students.   

    The Sensorial Curriculum is aimed at the training and sharpening of the senses.

    “The sensorial materials comprise a series of objects grouped together according to some physical quality which they have, such as color, shape, size, sound, texture, weight, temperature, and so forth.” (Maria Montessori, Discovery of the Child) These are exercises in perception, observation, fine discrimination, and classification. Refinement of the sense of sound paves the way for the child’s emergence into language. Sensorial education also builds a foundation for mathematical knowledge and the ability to make precise observations of the natural world in science. Experiences in artistic, architectural and musical appreciation further extend sensorial training. 

    The sensorial materials are highly interesting to young children and are a major area of concentration, typically between ages three and five years. They play an important role in helping Montessori students to develop their sense of order. 

    • Sensorial materials provide practice in perceiving patterns and classifying impressions. 
    • Each group of objects isolates a single quality, but in different degrees, bringing to the child’s awareness contrasts and similarities.
    • The exercises contain a control of error which “makes the child use his reason, critical faculty, and ever increasing capacity for drawing distinctions.” (Discovery of the Child)

    Language is developed and reinforced throughout the primary classrooms (ages three to six years). Many aspects of the environment create in our young children a spontaneous interest in learning how to read. 

    Control of the hand in preparation for writing is developed through the practical

    life curriculum and other specially designed exercises. The children practice making letters from age three or four. Before they are comfortable in their handwriting skills, they spell words, compose sentences and stories, and work on punctuation and capitalization with the moveable alphabets. 

    Montessori primary teachers begin to teach reading as soon as that interest is first expressed. The children are taught to listen for and recognize the individual phoentic sounds in words. They explore deciphering written words through recognition of patterns. They are also introduced to literature by reading aloud a wide range of classic stories and poetry. Opportunities to practice reading occur across the curriculum. 

    The study of grammar also begins during this sensitive period for language.

    Children are introduced to the function of the parts of speech one at a time through games and exercises that introduce one element at a time. 

    Math concepts are introduced and practiced using hands-on activities. Children receive a solid foundation for understanding mathematical principles, and a structured transition from concrete to abstract reasoning.   

    Students are typically introduced to numeration at age three. They learn numbers and number symbols one to ten. They are exposed to the place value rules of the decimal numeration system through interaction with manipulative math materials designed by Dr. Montessori. The colorful bead materials invite discovery of mathematical patterns. Children develop the concept of the four basic mathematical operations - addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication - through work with the Montessori math materials. The study of fractions also begins at this level, with very concrete materials. Geometry is introduced with sensorial exploration of plane and solid figures at ages three to six. More advanced study of the nomenclature, characteristics, measurement and drawing of the geometric shapes and concepts continues through age twelve in repeated cycles. 

    Geography and History are very closely related. One presents the study of the earth on which people live. The other presents the study of people who live on the earth. 

    It would be impossible for a child to fully understand one without also understanding the other. The teacher fuses the two together to provide full understanding of each.  

    Geography is first presented as an extension of the sensorial and language activities.

    Specially prepared globes for the very young child isolate single concepts of land and water. Colorful puzzle maps representing the continents, the countries of each continent, and the states of the U. S. are presented to the children at an early age. The children begin to learn the names of given countries, and by age six are normally very familiar with the continents of the globe, the nations of North America, South America, and Europe, along with most of the states of the U.S. They lay the puzzle pieces out and place appropriate name labels on each as a reading and geography exercise. 

    History is presented to small children through stories of holidays, birthdays and historic events, and through cultural activities. Timelines of transportation, lothing and housing show changes through history. Studies of art, music and customs are an integral part of the history lessons.   

    Science is woven into sensorial, practical life and language activities. Children learn to observe, identify and classify as they care for classroom plants and animals. Nature walks, opportunities to explore the physical properties of objects such as magnetism and buoyancy, stories, songs, and vocabulary enrichment activities all prepare the children to collect, organize and interpret scientific information. 

    The Elementary Curriculum for Children Ages Six to Twelve

    Education for the second plane of childhood, from six to twelve years, is addressed in two classes, each with a three-year age span. Both the lower elementary (ages six to nine) and the upper elementary (ages nine to twelve) provide simple, harmonious, hands-on environments for this “Intellectual Period.” The desire to explore the world with the power of abstract reasoning now develops. Focus shifts from physical and sensory development to awareness of self as a social being. This awareness prompts a move away from identity as a child within the family and into formation of and identification with peer groups. Children begin to develop a sense of right and wrong, and they explore the meaning of justice with vigor and enthusiasm. 

    In addition to new physical strength, stamina and energy elementary age children develop a driving intellectual curiosity and an immense appetite for knowledge. Dr. Montessori wrote that in this period, “all other factors sink into insignificance beside the importance of feeding the hungry intelligence and opening vast fields of knowledge to eager exploration.” (Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential). She proposed educators of elementary children must establish a context expansive enough to encompass all the patterns and cycles of life. Only the whole of the universe was deemed canvas broad enough, and the imagination would be its paintbrush.   

    “Human consciousness comes into the world as a flaming ball of imagination. Everything invented by human beings, physical or mental, is the fruit of someone’s imagination. In the study of history and geography we are helpless without imagination, and when we propose to introduce the universe to the child, what but the imagination can be of use to us? I consider it a crime to present such subjects as may be noble and creative aids to the imaginative faculty in such a manner as to deny its use, and on the other hand to require children to memorize that which they have not been able to visualize. The secret of good teaching is to regard the children’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seed may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the children understand, and still less to force them to memorize, but so to touch their imagination as to enthuse them to their inmost core. We do not want complacent pupils, but eager ones; we seek to sow life in children rather than theories, to help them in their growth, mental and emotional as well as physical.

    Looking around us at the cultural development of our epoch of evolution, we see no limits to what must be offered to the children, for theirs will be an immense field of chosen activity, and they should not be hampered by ignorance. But to give the whole of modern culture has become an impossibility and so a need arises for a special method, whereby all factors of culture may be introduced to six year olds; not in a syllabus to be imposed upon them, not with exactitude of detail, but in the broadcasting of the maximum seeds of interest. These will be held lightly in the mind, but will be capable of later germination, as the will becomes more directive.” Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential)

    To broadcast these seeds, Dr. Montessori chose five great lessons:

    1. The Birth of the Universe,

    2. The Development of Life On Earth,

    3. The Coming of Human Beings,

    4. The History of Language, and

    5. The History of Mathematics.

    These Great Lessons excite the imagination of the elementary child by dramatizing the known truths of the universe and the progression of human civilization. Their purpose is to create a picture in the children’s minds and to send them off wondering, questioning, and exploring in order to fill in the details of the picture. Only when children seek to answer the questions which they themselves ask, do they commit themselves to the hard work of finding answers that are meaningful to them.   

    The numerous lessons which follow the Great Lessons, give key details to stimulate further exploration. The teacher gives only as much guidance and encouragement as is necessary to elicit the children’s enthusiasm. After this preparation of interest, they are free to pursue areas they choose, using the materials of the prepared elementary environment. These new materials represent “keys to the universe,” and they are a means to personal formation for each child. Not every child will work with every material to the same extent. Some children will go much deeper in their search for knowledge in specific areas than others as the materials on the shelves lead them to exploration beyond the classroom walls, out into the community and world beyond. This concept is the basis of Montessori education and the means whereby it reaches its goal of leading the children to lifelong learning. (Lillard, Montessori Today) 

     

    The Mathematics Curriculum in lower elementary classes centers on the exploration of concepts of numbers and quantitative relationships. Children explore the four fundamental operations, and the laws of arithmetic, using concrete materials. These materials are designed to move the children sequentially from concrete to abstract thinking. Early explorations in the lower elementary prepare the children for more advanced work in the upper elementary, where they begin to think abstractly about concepts such as measurement, ratio and proportion, problem-solving, exponential notation, and preparation for algebra. The Geometry Curriculum which began with sensorial activities of the primary class extends to include exploration, construction, and manipulation of forms at the elementary level. Nomenclature gives the children a working vocabulary for explaining relationships such as equivalence, congruence, and similarity. The hands-on environment provides many opportunities to discover and apply mathematical equations for calculating perimeter, area, and volume.   

    The Language Curriculum unfolds the process of reading and writing with the exploration of grammar and the functions of words. Spontaneous discussions develop oral language skills. Once handwriting is fairly accomplished, children begin to develop composition skills through a sequence of writing exercises. Elementary children are typically asked to write on a daily basis, composing short stories, poems, plays, reports, and news articles. By age nine, research skills and the preparation of reports become major components of the educational program. 

    Students research areas of interest or topics that have been assigned in depth, and prepare both formal and informal, written and oral reports.   

    The Geography Curriculum uses anything that intrigues the children to help them achieve familiarity with the cultures and geography of the world. Children learn about other societies, past and present. This encourages an intuitive respect and love for their environment. All aspects of a region are investigated: land forms and water forms, climate, plants and animals, cities, people, food, economy and religions. They explore how imports and exports tie the nations of the world together. The study of geography ties to study of the physical sciences, encompassing an introduction to atoms and molecules and basic chemistry vocabulary. Forces of nature, simple machines, geology, mineralogy, meteorology, astronomy, and elementary physics are offered for exploration.   

    The History Curriculum begins with exploring basic concepts of time in the child’s own world. This exploration then extends to a broad arena, including the fundamental needs of humans, introduction to the formation of the Earth, evolution, the unfolding of human civilizations, and history of the country, state or province. Study of evolution and the development of life on the Earth over the eons ties together the history, geography and science curricula. History also provides the child with role models, and illustrates the indebtedness of our generation to previous generations. 

    The Biological Science Curriculum is a focus of great energy and enthusiasm in the elementary Montessori classroom. Students learn how scientists classify plants and animals. They explore plant and animal characteristics, and investigate human anatomy and ecology. Experiences with nature tend to inspire a reverence for all life. Observations skills are developed, as well as skills in measuring, recording and describing. Advanced elementary biology study includes the names and functions of different forms of leaves, flowers, seeds, trees, plants, and animals. This, too, involves field work collecting specimens and observing, measuring and recording. 

    Physical Education, Visual Arts and Crafts, and Music are integrated into the elementary curriculum. 

     

    The Practical Life Curriculum for elementary students includes care of the environment, care of one’s person, preparation for going-out, interpersonal communication, grace and courtesy, maintenance and repair, gardening and community service.   

    Assessment

    Assessment is based on the three primary goals of all Montessori classroom work:

    1. To help children learn to work independently and in a manner that contributes to the classroom community; 

    2. To help the students form a conceptual framework which will enable them to organize and analyze all their learning experiences; and 

    3. To stimulate the ability of students to think abstractly and critically about the world.

    Assessment in the Montessori classroom is performance based. It takes many forms:

    • Self Assessment: Children are continuously required to assess their own goals and their progress through individual conferencing between teacher and child. 

    The self-correcting nature of most of the Montessori materials aides students in the process of self-assessment. 

    • Portfolios: Children collect selected work into portfolios, and record lessons in journals. These are periodically reviewed by teacher, child and parents. 
    • Peer Teaching: Children who have mastered a unit of study are continuously encouraged to demonstrate that mastery as they teach what they have learned to 

    other students or check the work of younger classmates.

    • Peer Review: At the end of units of study, children create many kinds of projects. These are shared with the class, and reviewed by peers. 
    • Teacher Assessment: Teachers observe student’s progress and keep daily anecdotal records. Records are kept of lessons given, practiced and mastered. 
    • Tests: Judith P. Hoyer Montessori students are given benchmark assessments in Reading/Language Arts and Math. Students also participate in all required 

    Prince George’s County and Maryland State Tests.

    • Parent Conferences: Conferencing among teacher, child and parents is an integralpart of the assessment process. 

    The teacher guides the child’s progress logically and sequentially through each part of the Montessori curriculum. Understanding of key concepts and the Montessori materials allows the teacher to assess progress of the class and individual children. This understanding guides pacing of new presentations. The teacher is trained to have an overall plan that can be adjusted to respond to individual student’s progress as well as spontaneous enthusiasms and interests of students. There is a plan for each day, each week, and each semester, but teachers must have the ability to change course whenever children need individual assistance, or when they become genuinely and deeply interested in a subject.   

    Appendix

    The American Montessori Society (AMS) advocates that the following principles become the foundation of efforts to develop testing/assessment procedures, whether on the national, state, or local level. 

    1. The human brain learns by wrestling with ambiguity, solving problems, questioning, and discovering patterns, not by memorizing isolated information. 

    2. It constantly works to place new information and events into a framework of experiences that are already understood and used regularly. Information is not truly learned or usable by a person until this occurs. 

    3. Assimilating new information happens most effectively when that information comes by way of challenging, complex, interactive experiences. 

    4. It happens best when the new information has meaning and relevance, is seen as useful, and is important to a person. If a person cannot put new information 

    into a meaningful context or cannot sense its usefulness, it may become “surface knowledge” that is memorized and remembered for a short time but fails to become part of a person’s permanent store of knowledge. 

    5. As each new experience is encountered, questioned, analyzed, and assimilated into existing frameworks, the actual physical structure of a person’s brain changes. New connections are formed which weren’t there before. 

    6. At the same time, the exact way each person constructs meaning, interrelates ideas, and “learns” is individual and unique to that person. The net result is that, over the many years each child spends in school, he/she develops a unique and personalized style of learning that may be very different from that of other children. 

    7. Similarly, children can be “intelligent” in many different ways -- more than just verbally or mathematically. 

    8. The neocortex, that part of the brain in which information is processed and stored, functions best in a relaxed but challenging atmosphere. In situations perceived as stressful or threatening, it may “shut down,” and cease to function. In such situations a person is less able to access what he or she already knows and falls back on responses that may be limited, lacking in creativity, and not indicative of what that person really knows.   

    For the reasons above, the American Montessori Society advocates the following:

    1. The education in American classrooms involves children in activities designed to help them: · interrelate and critically analyze ideas; · form questions about these ideas as a spur to further study; and · generally engage in meaningful mental exercise, instead of concentrating on isolated facts and surface knowledge. 

    2. The climate in all of America’s classrooms is one of emotional support and intellectual stimulation, and not one of threat or fear. 

    3. Assessment procedures used in America’s schools:

    • move away from a reliance on written tests as the only format for indicating educational achievement; and toward formats (portfolios, presentations, and multi-media projects) that more authentically gauge the ability to interrelate ideas, think critically, and ause information meaningfully.  

    These shared educational values bring the Montessori curriculum and method firmly in line with the new national Common Core State Standards.

    Bibliography and Resources

    *Polk Lillard, Paula, Montessori Today, Shocken Books, New York, 1996.

    *Montessori, Maria, Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, Shocken Books, New York, 1965.  

    *Montessori, Maria, The Discovery of the Child, Ballantine Books, New York, 1972.

    *Montessori, Maria, To Educate the Human Potential, Kalakshetra Publications, Madras, India, 1973. 

    Montessori, Maria, From Childhood to Adolescence, Shocken Books, New York, 1973. 

    American Montessori Society, http://www.amshq.org

    An Overview Of Montessori Education, http://www.MontessoriConnections.com

    Association Montessori Internationale, http://www.montessori-ami.org/

    Montessori Organizations, http://www.jolapub.com/index_mont_home_t.html

    Montessori: The International Montessori Index, http://www.montessori.edu

    North American Montessori Teachers’ Association, http://www.montessori-namta.org/

    The Montessori Foundation, http://www.montessori.org favorite Montessori books

     

    (Excerpted from The PGCPS Montessori Program Summary, copyright 2000, PGCPS Board of Education)