Montessori Learning is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. Consider it more like facilitated learning than direct teaching. Named after Dr. Maria Montessori, this method of learning emphasizes self-learning and self-correction, which is not an easy skill to acquire.

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children learn naturally. She opened the first Montessori school—the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House—in Rome on January 6, 1907.” (American Montessori Society)

You are more likely going to see teaching materials not overtly used in typical classrooms such as an abacus, reading primer and other math manipulatives. The Montessori Method fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development; cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.

While Montessori can be a good and even preferred method of learning for some children, it is best for those who are self-motivated, can easily self-direct and have a penchant for self-discovery. Students who may have to transition to public schools may have difficulty with a more structured environment.

Rather than group by grade, the Montessori method of education usually groups students by age clusters such as early childhood, primary and secondary. By doing this, students are free to work at their own pace and level with a peer group which varies in age and ability.

I moved from New York City to Central Florida the week my daughter turned five and within two weeks she was bored. I enrolled her in a local Montessori school that placed a lot of emphasis on organic learning. In lieu of Disney Princess Stories, there were Dick and Jane type books, world maps, Spanish, American Sign Language language, music, horticulture and yoga. While we both loved her experience there, I knew she would benefit from more structured learning due to learning differences. However, it did give her a great start in a low stress environment and I have no regrets.

Some local Montessori schools to check out can be found in our Guide to Orlando area Montessori Schools.

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