Academics » What is Montessori Education?

What is Montessori Education?

Written by Joné Arsenault 
4th/5th Grade Montessori Teacher 

The Montessori Method of education is an alternative, child-centered method of education which is based on the theories of child development presented by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) to the education community in Italy in the late 19th and early 20th century. Dr. Montessori was the first Italian woman to graduate from medical school in Rome and completed further post-doctoral training in psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. The work of Jean Piaget and Frederick Froebel influenced her thinking about child development. It is this combination of training and thought that allowed Dr. Montessori to develop her multi-sided vision of child development that started with the physical body and encompassed the mind, spirit, and communal self. After observing and working with many children, Dr. Montessori began to believe that children teach themselves when provided with an environment, experiential activities, materials and trained teachers that nurture and support the self-creating process of the child. 

Dr. Montessori wanted to bring her vision of education to as many children as possible and public Montessori schools provide an important component in this vision, making her method and pedagogy available to a wider diversity of students. Public Montessori school classrooms reflect a commitment toward whole-child development, as well as academic achievement, problem solving and peace education within diverse communities. In an area of educational reform, Montessori education is being explored in a large variety of settings.