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The Montessori Method

At the turn of the century, Dr. Maria Montessori began a revolution in education.  She believed that education must meet the needs of the whole child: the mind, the body, and the spirit.

Her approach to teaching was built upon respect for the child.  Dr. Montessori asserted that children are capable of learning at a young age if given the opportunity and help.  This capability grows from the child's innate desire to learn rather than from adult pressure.

Utilizing her skills of scientific observation, Dr. Montessori carefully watched children over a number of years, and gained new insights into the nature of childhood learning.  She introduced the "prepared environment" which offers the child security of order.  The sense of order, prevalent in a Montessori classroom, diminishes frustration and gives the child satisfaction and self-direction.


The Montessori apparatus, designed by Dr. Montessori, is the salient ingredient in the prepared environment.  The apparatus enables the child to order and to classify his/her environment and the many diverse sensations provided by it.  Montessori apparatus includes the following:


The Montessori apparatus has many characteristics but there are fundamental qualities common to every piece of material.  They are as follows:

  1. The Control of Error - The materials contain in themselves a control of error which makes the child use his/her reasoning power, increase his/her capacity for drawing distinctions and promotes independence.
  2. Aesthetics - All materials are made as attractive as possible.  Color, brightness, and proportion are sought in all the materials.
  3. Activity - A key factor in all the Montessori materials is that it lends itself to the motor activities of the child.  Every object can be removed, used, and put back into its proper place.

The Montessori materials are designed with scientific precision.  Each has a definite aim.  They give the child clear impressions, help the child organize his/her environment, develop his/her muscular coordination, and permit him/her to experience the joy of accomplishment.

Discipline is central to the Montessori classroom.  There is no learning without discipline.  The authority of the teacher is replaced by the individual inner discipline in the children.  In keeping order, children often teach one another more than an adult can.

In Montessori, the virtues of character are as highly prized as academic achievement.  Children grow not only in self-confidence, but also in a sense of responsibility.  Intellect, physical powers, and moral insight must all be developed if a child is to be prepared to meet the demands of life.  The center of the Montessori method is the child.  The prepared environment, the apparatus, the philosophy behind the technique all flow from an understanding of the child and a respect for his/her worth.



Rainbow Montessori School | 8736 Nicollet Avenue South | Bloomington, MN 55420 | 952.888.8052