The 12 Points of Montessori

  • It is based on years of patient observation of child nature by the greatest educational genius since Froebel.
  • It has proved itself of universal application. Within a single generation, it has been tried with complete success with children of almost every civilized nation. Race, color, climate, social rank, type of civilization, all these make no difference to its successful application.
  • It has revealed the small child as a lover of work, intellectual work, spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy.
  • It is based on the child’s imperious need to learn by doing. At each stage in the child’s growth, corresponding occupations are provided by means of which he develops his faculties.
  • While it offers the child a maximum of spontaneity, it nevertheless enables him to reach the same, or even higher, level of scholastic attainment as under the old system.
  • Though it does away with the necessity of coercion by means of reward and punishments,it achieves a higher discipline than formerly. It is an active discipline which originates within the child and is not imposed from without.
  • It is based on a profound respect for the child’s personality and removes from him the preponderating influence of the adult, thus leaving him room to grow in biological independence. Hence the hild is allowed a large measure of liberty (not license) which forms the basis for real discipline.
  • It enables the teacher to deal with each child individually in each subject, and thus guide him according to his individual requirements.
  • Each child works at his own pace. Hence the quick child is not held back by the slow, nore is the latter, in trying to keep up with the former, obliged, to flounder along hopelessly out of his depth. Each stone in the mental edifice is “well and truly laid” before the next is added.
  • It does away with the competitive spirit and its train of baneful results. More than this, at every turn, it represents endless opportunities among the children for mutual help – which is joyfully given and gratefully received.
  • Since the child works from his own free choice, without competition and coercion, he is free from the danger of overstrain, feeling of inferiority, and other experiences which are apt to be the unconscious cause of profound mental disturbances later in life.
  • Finally, the MONTESSORI METHOD develops the whole personality of the child, not merely his intellectual faculties, but also his powers of deliberation, initiative, and independent choice with their emotional complement. By living as a free member of a real society, the child is trained in those fundamental social qualities which for the basis of good citizenship.

Why a Montessori Education?

A longitudinal study of Milwaukee high school graduates showed that students who had attended Montessori preschool and elementary programs significantly outperformed a peer control group on math/science scores. “In essence,” the study found, “attending a Montessori program from the approximate ages of three to eleven predicts significantly higher mathematics and science standardized test scores in high school.”

— Kathryn Rindskopf Dohrmann, Ph.D., MPH, “Outcomes for Students in a Montessori Program: A Longitudinal Study of the Experience in the Milwaukee Public Schools” (AMI/USA May, 2003)

Another study found significantly higher student motivation and socialization among adolescents in Montessori programs compared to traditional school environments. “There were strong differences suggesting that Montessori students were feeling more active, strong, excited, happy, relaxed, sociable, and proud while engaged in academic work. They were also enjoying themselves more, they were more interested in what they were doing, and they wanted to be doing academic work more than the traditional students.”

— Kevin Rathunde, Ph.D., “A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle Schools: Motivation, Quality of Experience, and Social Context,” The NAMTA Journal 28.3 (Summer 2003): pp. 12-52.

A comparison of Montessori students with students in other school programs found that 5-year-old Montessori students scored higher on both academic and behavioral tests than the control group. The study also found that 12-year-old Montessori students wrote more sophisticated and creative stories and showed a more highly developed sense of community and social skills than students in other programs.

— Angeline Lillard, Ph.D., “Evaluating Montessori Education,” Science 131:1893-94 (Sept. 29, 2006)

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Parent Resources

Websites

Books

    • Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents, Maren Schmidt
    • Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument, Trevor Eissler
    • Montessori From the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three, Polk-Lillard and Lillard-Jessen
    • Montessori – A Modern Approach, Paula Polk Lillard
    • Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, Angelina Stoll Lillard
    • The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori
    • Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv
    • Siblings without Rivalry, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Materials

  • www.forsmallhands.com – A catalog of child-size Practical Life and other materials offered by Montessori Services, from kitchen items, yard tools, and musical instruments to building games.