While preparing for our first day of Infant and Parent Classes I came across this list from My Primary Montessori Training album. The source is unknown, but I think it is a great list of what Montessori education is.
Twelve Points of the Montessori Method
1. It is based on years of patient observation of child nature.
2. It has proved itself of universal application. Race, color, climate,
nationality, social rank, type of civilization-all these make no difference to its successful application.
3. It has revealed the small child as a lover of work, intellectual work, spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy.
4. It is based on the child’s imperious need to learn by doing. At each stage in the child’s intellectual growth, corresponding occupations are provided by means of which he develops his faculties.
5. While it offers the child a maximum of spontaneity it enables him to reach the same, or even a higher level of scholastic attainment as under conventional systems.
6. It does away with the necessity of coercion by means of rewards and punishments, it achieves a an active discipline which originates within the child and it is not imposed from without.
7. It is based on a profound respect for the child’s personality and removes from him the influence of the adult personality. Thus leaving him room to grow in biological independence. Hence the child is allowed a large measure of liberty (not license) which forms the basis of real discipline.
8. It enables the teacher to deal with each child individually in each subject, and thus guide him according to his individual development.
9. Each child works at his own pace. Each stone in the mental edifice is “well and truly laid” before the next is added.
10. It does away with the competitive spirit. More than this, at every turn it presents endless opportunities among the children for mutual help-which is joyfully given and gratefully received.
11. Since the child works from his own free choice, without competition and coercion, he is freed from danger of overstrain, feelings of inferiority, and other experiences which are apt to be the unconscious cause of profound mental disturbances in later life.
12. Finally, the Montessori Method develops the whole personality of the child, not merely his intellectual faculties but also his powers of deliberation, initiative, and independent choice, with their emotional complements. By living as a free member of a real social community the child is trained in those fundamental social qualities which form his basic character.