The Montessori Philosophy

The Montessori Philosophy

About Dr Maria Montessori

Dr Maria Montessori was the first female physician in Italy back in 1870. She spent most of her life studying and aiding the development of the individual from birth to maturity. In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn, and she found that children teach themselves from their environment. In 1906, she gave up her medical practice and started a school to work with a group of young children in Rome. It was there that she founded the first “Children’s House”, where the Montessori method of education was developed.

Based on her observation of children, made during her travels around the world, she found that the laws of development she had recognized in Italy were universal and inherent in children of all races and cultures. She recognized that “Every child is a unique individual that needs to be understood, respected, admired and unconditionally accepted as a precious gift of life.” but she also saw that “every child has certain characteristics that are the same as every other child…”. Thus, every piece of equipment, exercise, method that Dr. Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do “naturally,” by themselves, without assistance from the adults.

What did Dr Montessori discover in Children:

  • Children learn effortlessly, and they absorb knowledge from their surroundings. They take in information as a whole as if they are a sponge that absorbs everything that is presented to them.   
  • Children have tireless interest in manipulating materials.     
  • Children pass through stages of development, and at each stage they have different sensitivities, (Dr Montessori called it the “sensitive periods”) for learning and developing.     
  • Children are naturally curious and engage in much spontaneous activity. By providing children with an appropriate prepared environment, we could direct their spontaneous activity, which help them to take better advantage of their sensitivities.

The prepared environment

Dr. Montessori saw her methods not only as an aid to cognitive development but as an aid to life. The Montessori classroom materials and activities are designed to help the child to learn by doing. Not only does the child learn through manipulating the materials, he/she enjoys the process of doing so.

The essence of the Montessori method lies on these materials that allow children to teach themselves. The adult in this environment (the teacher, or Dr. Montessori called directress) is trained to present this material in the right way, at the right time, to enable children to teach themselves.

A special principle of the Montessori method is that children also learn by observing others and by teaching. Thus every Montessori class consists of mixed age groups. The younger children are free to watch the older ones, while the older children may, if they wish, teach the younger ones.

In the Montessori prepared environment, the goal of the directress is to cultivate the self learning experience, and guide the children to teach themselves. This method not only allows children to discover knowledge but develop their own skills at their own pace.

About Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the AMI Montessori Classroom in Federal Hill Montessori

Dr Montessori formed the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 1929 to protect her work and to insure that her philosophy and approach to education would be carried on as she intended. It is recognized as the leading authority on Montessori education.

Our teacher was trained at the oldest Montessori training center in North America,Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola. We are committed to established a Primary Montessori classroom according to our training and the AMI standard. We strives to maintain our classroom as similar as to the primary environment as established in the training center, and practice our teaching according to what we were trained. Every piece of material, from Practical Life activities to vocabulary enrichment cards in Languages, from sorting exercise in Sensorial to counting beads in Mathematics are made and presented strictly follow the training center guideline.

For more information about Dr Maria Montessori, and the Montessori approach, please visit:
Association Montessori Internationale (AMI/USA) or

North American Montessori Teachers’ Association