What Makes Montessori Special

Montessori is a the­ory of edu­ca­tion foun­ded by Italian doc­tor Maria Montessori. In this approach to edu­ca­tion, chil­dren are placed into a well-planned and struc­tured envir­on­ment that meets their indi­vidual needs, and allows them to develop at their own pace.

Montessori is a theory of education founded by Italian doctor Maria Montessori.

In this approach to education, children are placed into a well-planned and structured environment that meets their individual needs, and allows them to develop at their own pace.

The children are free to follow their interests within this structure, which allows them to learn concepts spontaneously and naturally. Consequently, they are highly motivated to discover new things and work independently with the materials provided. This independence also helps foster good discipline and basic abilities.

There are three fundamental elements required in a Montessori approach to education. These are: 

  • a structured environment
  • a Montessori curriculum
  • a Montessori teacher

Structured Environment

The structured environment is also known as the 'prepared environment', and this encompasses the physical aspect of the classroom, i.e. the arrangement and aesthetics of the areas used by the children, which focus on meeting the needs of the whole child. It is the teacher’s responsibility to prepare and maintain this space.

The materials in the class are arranged in areas, and the children have the freedom to move around an open-plan room to choose the activities they want, which also gives them a sense of empowerment. The shelves are low, so the children can independently take the material of their choice, and put it back when they are finished. The external structure helps a child build its own internal order.

Montessori Curriculum

The curriculum is divided into five areas of learning that allow the children to absorb concepts spontaneously while they work freely and independently, as opposed to a traditional preschool structure where the focus is a group being taught by a teacher.


These five areas are:

  • Practical Life
  • Sensorial
  • Mathematics
  • Language
  • Cultural Studies

Montessori Teacher

The last element is the teacher who facilitates and guides the child throughout its development, and their ultimate goal is to intervene less and less as the child grows, employing careful and constant observation throughout this process. They are also responsible for creating an atmosphere that is warm, calm, orderly and joyful to help the children develop their self-confidence and inner-discipline.

Find out more about the Montessori method: