The Montessori Method is an effective and vital approach to educating children that encompasses the role of the child in a vision of world peace. Dr. Maria Montessori, a noted Italian educator and physician (1870-1952), revolutionized early childhood education by advocating that children be allowed the freedom to explore and develop their own creative potential.
Montessori learning is offered in multiage classrooms for children age two through eighteen: toddler/2-3, primary/3-6, lower elementary/6-9, upper elementary/9-12, and middle school and high school for adolescents. Each curriculum is a rotating continuum, based on the developmental needs of children during that period of life. A child gains the greatest benefit from the program by beginning at age three and continuing through each level. The Montessori method stresses that children learn and progress at their own pace so that fast learners are not held back and slow learners are not frustrated by their inability to keep up.
Guided by a trained teacher in a unique environment designed to provide independent learning, a Montessori education seeks to develop self reliance, responsibility, confidence, and sharing a sense of wonder about the world and each other. The Montessori child is learning and not just memorizing. Each child is allowed supervised free choice of classroom activities and freedom of movement based on his or her interests, as long as those activities do not disrupt the well-being of the class.
The imaginative teaching material found in today’s Montessori classrooms were developed by Dr. Montessori over 100 years ago and are the heart of the process. The materials are self-correcting, enabling the child to proceed at his/her own pace and realize errors with minimal adult intervention. The Montessori Method emphasizes learning through the use of tangible sensory objects, which reinforces memory and understanding. Children eagerly take up this reality-based “purposeful” work, which gives them the tools for a lifetime of creative learning.
As Montessori said, “Everything we do must …aim at improving the individual in order to improve society.”
Montessori realized the responsibility we have as adults to educate children in a way that protects their individuality while calling them to contribute to making our world a better place. Through integrated, inquiry based curriculum, designed to foster connections between and across subject areas, we teach students how to set goals, monitor their progress, and challenge themselves to go outside of their comfort zone.
We realize every child is different and seek to make the most of those differences! Thus, our student-to-teacher ratio is intentionally low, while our faculty is exceptionally talented.
Technology and transportation have changed the way we interact with the world, and will continue to do so. To both take advantage of this and prepare students for this world, we engage students in real world experiences where they apply their learning in multiple off-campus projects.
Real World Preparation
The critical thinking and creativity that Montessori education develops are essential in the modern workplace and the list of famous former Montessori students is long. We believe it’s important for children to learn how to communicate, think for themselves, how to lead, work as a team, and how to learn.
The Eight Principles of Montessori
1. Movement and cognition are closely entwined, and movement can enhance thinking and learning.
2. Learning and well-being are improved when people have a sense of control over their lives.
3. People learn better when they are interested in what they are learning.
4. Tying extrinsic rewards to an activity negatively impacts motivation to engage in that activity when the reward is withdrawn.
5. Collaborative arrangements can be very conducive to learning.
6. Learning situated in meaningful contexts is often deeper and richer than learning in abstract contexts.
7. Particular forms of adult interaction are associated with more optimal child outcomes.
8. Order in the environment is beneficial to children.
Is Montessori the Right Fit for My Child?
Montessori schools and parents work together to raise curious, compassionate and creative children. At Hillsboro, parent education and community involvement are a piece of that puzzle. Montessori is right for you if:
- You value independence in your child,
- You want your child to learn at their own pace, in their own way,
- You want your child to learn practical life skills in addition to academics,
- You want your child to learn about different world cultures and feel part of a global community.
Read more about whether Montessori is the right choice for your family here.