Montessori is a child-centered educational approach that recognizes the child as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning when provided with a supportive, thoughtfully prepared environment and sequential, hands-on learning.
It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the child as a whole.
Eton School is proud to be fully accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS), which holds Montessori schools to a standard of excellence requiring teachers to fully meet the intellectual, social, and physical needs of each student.
Distinctive elements of Montessori:
- Educating the Whole Child
The intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual needs of a child are of equal importance.
- Offering a Prepared Environment
The classroom is carefully and thoughtfully prepared by the teacher with the child in mind to foster exploration, independence, freedom within limits, a sense of order, and harmony.
- Using Montessori Materials
In a Montessori environment, students work with specially designed materials, which provides the student a learning path from concrete to abstraction. Each material is presented to the student by the teacher and built into each one is a “control of error” which allows him or her to assess his or her individual progress and to work until the lesson is mastered. Materials offer multiple levels of of challenge and can be used repeatedly at different developmental levels. As the student progresses, the teacher introduces new material to ensure the level of challenge meets the student’s needs.
- Teacher as a Guide
A Montessori teacher serves as a role model, guide, demonstrator, and a conscientious observer and recorder of the student’s learning journey. The teacher creates a classroom that meets the unique interest, academic levels and developmental needs of each student. The teacher is a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on the stage.”
- Montessori education helps children reach their individual potential.
- Montessori teachers motivate children by praising good work and providing small tokens of recognition and encouragement.
- Montessori teachers most often evaluate a child's learning by giving tests based on the curriculum.
- Activities in a Montessori classroom are changed frequently during the day to keep children interested in learning.
- Students in a Montessori classroom are allowed to work together in small groups.
Montessori by design helps children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. Within the multi-age classroom, each child discovers his/her own stride and follows his/her own passion and interest. In addition, classrooms filled with children of different learning abilities serve as communities where everyone contributes to the learning and children learn from each other.
Rewards and external praise weaken the development of intrinsic motivation in children. Montessori curriculum and materials stimulate each child’s natural curiosity and promote engaged exploration and discovery. When children have the freedom to choose their own work (within limits), they further their individual initiative and personal responsibility. By focusing and acknowledging the elements of the work (their effort, approach etc.), teachers strengthen and encourage the child’s concentration and effort on the processes of learning rather than on the end product.