The Montessori classroom is unique in both its environment and its students. The open classroom is filled with activity as students engage in meaningful, individualized learning. The close-knit family atmosphere encourages students to collaborate with each other, approach each other for help, and take on the role of “teacher”, demonstrating a deeper understanding of the concepts and skills that they have mastered. The hands-on materials are arranged for students to be able to access without assistance and are designed to allow students to actively engage with concrete materials which support true understanding of academic concepts. Key components to the educational experience are investigation and research culminating in oral presentations which not only support academic goals but help children to build a strong sense of confidence and self-esteem.
In the Montessori environment, children take an active role in the success of the school community. They are deliberately taught kindness, respect, thoughtfulness, and conflict resolution strategies which support Dr. Montessori’s belief in the need for peace. In addition, they are encouraged to participate in social service activities to develop a relationship and commitment to the global community. It is this desire for children to see themselves as citizens of the world and inhabitants of the Earth which cultivates the study of nature, environmental studies, and outdoor education which is a fundamental part of a Montessori education.
Based on a three-year multi-age model, students develop a close relationship with their teacher, or “Directress”, as well as their peers. This leads to an unusually strong sense of community in the classroom as well as allowing the Directress to develop a strong understanding of each child’s strengths, learning style, and interests which are the basis for their individualized educational goals. The Directress is responsible for creating and maintaining an environment which encourages children to explore and impact the world around them. It is this exploration and interaction with the world which leads a love of the learning process. It is the goal of Montessori education for students to become actively engaged in their learning leading to a strong sense of independence and purpose.