Principles of the Method

The whole child is educated: physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual

The importance of the inter-relation between the different areas of development are emphasised.

The child is an active learner

  • Spontaneous activity: the child chooses an activity - the equipment supports concrete learning
  • The links in knowledge are built up step by step, i.e. education of senses to abstract thought
  • Individual activity is encouraged as every child learns at a different rate
  • The importance of the connection between the hand and the brain is emphasised.

Intrinsic motivation 

  • Children want to learn; they do not have to be motivated by external forces. Punishments and rewards are not used.
  • Through the prepared environment the child is free to select his/her chosen activity; therefore he learns what he/she wants to learn, at his/her own pace. This spontaneous activity encourages self-direction and self-reliance.
  • Concentration develops if a child is self-motivated.

Self-discipline is encouraged

  • Self-discipline comes from allowing intrinsic motivation.
  • The child is protected from adult and other children's intervention.
  • The apparatus also encourages self-discipline - by completing an activity satisfactorily, the child feels rewarded and is encouraged to take on longer and more complex tasks, thus disciplining him/herself.

 The environment affects the child's development

  • The quality of the child's interaction with the environment affects development.
  • The child learns from the environment.
  • Adults and other children are part of the environment

 There are Sensitive Periods in development

  • A Sensitive Period is a short period of time when a child is completely absorbed by one aspect of the environment.
  • Dr. Montessori was the first educator to identify these sensitive periods.
  • Examples of sensitive periods: language, order, social aspects.
  • From an educational point of view, if a child is in a sensitive period he/she is encouraged and allowed to follow it. His/her interest and concentration will not be broken. 

A child-centred approach starting from what the child can do 

  • Through the prepared environment, the child builds on what he can do, gradually absorbing and accomplishing more and more skills and knowledge.
  • The teacher is scienctific in his/her approach: he/she observes and keeps careful records so that he/she can plan appropriate activities to extend the child's horizon.
  • The teacher guides and directs the child's activities.
  • The teacher serves the child. 

The inner life of the child is respected 

  • The child's dignity is respected.
  • Tranquillity and peacefulness are encouraged.
  • The classroom is often silent - silence is not imposed.
  • Harmony, both externally and internally, are aimed at.
  • The child's unique personality is allowed to develop naturally. 

Social Interaction 

  • The adults and the children with whom the child interacts are seen as crucial to the child's whole development.
  • Children respect one another's efforts and help only when it is necessary, they are free from envy and anything well done in the class arouses their enthusiastic praise.
  • Children are vertically grouped and as they are of different ages they help one another; the younger ones see what the older ones are doing and ask for help. The result is harmony and comunication between the ages.