The Montessori Philosophy and Terms

The Montessori approach to education is grounded in the belief that children have a dynamic inner desire to explore and learn about their environment. In the words of Maria Montessori, “Education is not something which the teacher does, but is a natural process
which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but by virtue of experience in which the child acts on his environment… We must offer the child the help he needs, and be at his service so that he does not have to walk alone.”

An Environment for Learning

An important part of Montessori’s approach is an orderly and pleasant environment. This environment includes learning materials designed to meet the particular developmental needs of each child. Ideally, it also includes easy access to their outdoor surroundings and
the world of nature. Children are encouraged to explore the activities that interest them most, and to experience the deep inner satisfaction of having achieved what they set out to do.

Each child is given guidance according to his or her needs and personal capability, allowing for individually paced development in a non-competitive atmosphere. The grouping of mixed ages in one classroom permits cooperative interaction and mutual assistance among the younger and older children.

Lexicon of Montessori Terms