CHILDREN OF THE EARTH MONTESSORI SCHOOL LLC
9005 INDIANAPOLIS BLVD.
HIGHLAND, INDIANA 46322
OFFICE #: (219)923-2481
FAX #: (219)923-2752
MONTESSORI EDUCATION: A Few Questions and Answers
WHAT IS IT? This system of education is both a philosophy of child growth and a rationale for guiding
such growth. It is based on the child’s developmental needs for freedom within limits and a carefully
prepared environment which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences through which to
develop intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities. It is designed to take full advantage
of the self-motivation and unique ability of children to develop their own capabilities. The child needs
adults to expose him to the possibilities of his life, but the child himself must direct his response to those
possibilities. Premises of Montessori education are:
- Children are to be respected as different from adults, and as individuals who differ from each
- The child possesses unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from his
environment that are unlike those for the adult both in quality and capacity.
- The most important years of growth are the first six years. Unconscious learning is gradually
brought to the conscious level.
- The child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He works, however, not as an adult for
profit and completion of a job, but for the sake of the activity itself. It is this activity which
accomplishes for him his most important goal: the development of himself – his mental, physical
and psychological powers.
IS IT FOR ALL CHILDREN? The Montessori system has been used successfully with children between
the ages of two and a half and eighteen from all socio-economic levels, representing those in regular
classes as well as gifted, retarded, emotionally disturbed, and physically handicapped. Because of its
individual approach, it is uniquely suited to public education, where children of many backgrounds are
grouped together. It is also appropriate for classes in which the student-teacher ratio is high because
children learn at an early age to work independently.
IS THE CHILD FREE TO DO WHAT HE CHOOSES IN THE CLASSROOM? The child is free to move
about the classroom at will, to talk to other children, to work with any equipment whose purpose he
understands, or to ask the teacher to introduce new material to him. He is not free to disturb other
children at work or to abuse the equipment that is so important to his development.
WHAT DOES THE DIRECTRESS DO? The directress works with individual children, introduces material,
and gives guidance where needed. One of her primary tasks is careful observation of each child in
order to determine his needs and to gain the knowledge she needs in preparing the environment to aid
his growth. Her method of teaching is indirect in that she neither imposes upon the child as in direct
teaching nor abandons him as a non-directive, permissive approach. Rather, she is constantly alert to
the direction in which the child himself has indicated he wishes to go and she actively seeks ways to help
him accomplish his goals.
WHAT DOES IT DO FOR THE CHILD? The goals of Montessori for children are several:
- It encourages self-discipline, self-knowledge, and independence.
- It encourages enthusiasm for learning.
- It is an organized approach to problem solving and academic skills.
Courtesy of Paula Lillard, author of Montessori – A Modern Approach
Illinois Montessori Society
Watch the video below for more about the Montessori method