Educating the whole child and honoring the diversity of each individual from
Pre-elementary (age 3) through Grade 8.

About Montessori

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.”

Developing a Lifelong Passion for Learning

The Guide on the Side

Comparison: Montessori and Traditional

Emphasis

Montessori
Emphasis on cognitive structures and social development

Traditional
Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development

Teacher's Role

Montessori
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; student is an active participant in learning

Traditional
Teacher has a dominant active role in classroom activity; student is a passive participant in learning

Regulation

Montessori
Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline

Traditional
Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline

Instruction

Montessori
Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to each student’s learning style

Traditional
Instruction, both individual and group, conforms to the adult’s teaching style

Work Time

Montessori
Student works as long as s/he wishes on a chosen project

Student sets own learning pace to internalize information

Traditional
Student is generally given specific time frame/limit for work

Instruction pace is usually set by group norm or teacher

Learning

Montessori
Learning is reinforced internally through the student’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success

Traditional
Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragements

Student's Learning Space

Montessori
Student can work where she/he is comfortable; movement is encouraged

Traditional
Student usually assigned own chair/desk; encouraged to sit at desk to work and receive instruction or help.


"Montessori education offers our children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life."

~American Montessori Association, Benefits of Montessori Education



What do you know about Montessori? Take this test.

Montessori education helps children reach their individual potential.

True

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.

Montessori teachers motivate children by praising good work and providing small tokens of recognition and encouragement.

False

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.

Montessori teachers most often evaluate a child's learning by giving tests based on the curriculum.

False

Montessori teachers evaluate the child's learning by observing their work. They keep detailed records on each child's individual progress through the curriculum and they are more concerned with a child's understanding than memorizing answers.

Activities in a Montessori classroom are changed frequently during the day to keep children interested in learning.

False

Montessori teachers allow children to determine their own schedules during long stretches of uninterrupted time so they can engage in meaningful, self-chosen work until their interest is satisfied.

Students in a Montessori classroom are allowed to work together in small groups.

True

Group work is nurtured in a Montessori classroom. The primary goals of a Montessori education include teaching children to cooperate with one another and in developing the child's sense of community.

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