The “whole child” approach. The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation. The holistic curriculum, under the direction of a specially prepared teacher, allows the child to experience the joy of learning, time to enjoy the process and insure the development of self-esteem, and provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.
The “Prepared Environment”. In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment room, materials and social climate-must be supportive of the learner. The teacher provides necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate. The teacher thus gains the children’s trust, which enables them to try new things and build self-confidence.
The Montessori materials. Dr. Montessori’s observations of the kinds of things which children enjoy and go back to repeatedly led her to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials which facilitate the learning of skills and lead to learning of abstract ideas.
The teacher. Originally called a “Directress,” the Montessori teacher functions as designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth.
The teacher acts as a facilitator of learning. Extensive training-a minimum of a full year following the baccalaureate degree is required for a full AMS credential, including a year’s student teaching under supervision-is specialized for the age group with which a teacher will work, i.e., infant and toddler, three to six years old, elementary or secondary level.