Montessori FAQs

Is Montessori a Religious Educational Environment?

No. The application at Richmond Hill is non-religious.The Montessori methods and philosophies can certainly be and have been successfully implemented in a religious educational setting, but they are intrinsically secular.

What Is the Montessori Method?

The Montessori Method is an educational approach that allows each child to progress through a series of developmental and learning stages at her own pace. This is accomplished by providing an environment that presents the child with a variety of work areas that contain very specifically designed “sensorial materials” which the child can explore and manipulate until he is fully satisfied with his grasp of the concept and move on to another area of his choosing. This is done under the non-intrusive guidance of the Montessori teacher. In this way a child experiences learning as a joyful,satisfying experience, rather than the frustration of being pushed too hard, or worse, not being allowed to progress quickly enough to avoid boredom.

How Did the Montessori Method Originate?

The Montessori Method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, born in Italy in 1870. She was the first female Italian medical doctor. She was drawn to work with children, initially those who were disadvantaged and had special needs. Based on this work, she created unique learning materials and a child centered classroom environment to reflect the needs of the children. Tables and chairs were child-sized and the materials were placed on low shelves to enable the children and to teach them independence and responsibility. Dr. Montessori was one of the first educators to embrace the concepts of stressing respect for the child, freedom of expression, self-education and training through the use of movement and the senses.

What Is a Montessori Classroom?

The Montessori classroom is a child-sized world.Through the careful selection of materials an environment is set up that provides the child a place to explore life on an understandable level.This “prepared environment” entices the child to proceed at his own pace, from simple activities to more complex ones.Through this process the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied and the child begins to experience the joy of discovering the world around him or her. Materials and curriculum activities are grouped into the following areas: Practical Life,Sensorial, Language Arts, Mathematics, Cultural Subjects, Art and Music.

Observers are always struck by the calm that prevails in a Montessori classroom. This is the result of each child’s self-imposed discipline fostered by the tone set initially by the teacher’s preparation of the environment.Through carefully planned initial exercises that are presented in an ordered and non-competitive environment, he experiences success in his efforts and thus acquires a sense of security and confidence in his ability and the courage to be creative and original.

How Do Children Interact in a Montessori Classroom?

As the children develop a sense of pride in their work they begin to manifest a sense of confidence, well-being and joy. A classroom of Montessori children is wonderful to watch. There is a spirit of respect, love and cooperation among the children that is not often found elsewhere. A Montessori classroom allows freedom within limits. A child is permitted to work freely, as long as others are not disturbed.Children with the freedom to follow their interests are generally happy and busily involved in their work.

What Is the Role of a Montessori Teacher?

The Montessori teacher facilitates and guides the classroom activity. She carefully plans the environment in the interests of the children and helps each child progress from one activity to another. The teacher is trained to deal with each child individually, allowing the child to choose and standing back while the child is working, affording the child the satisfaction of her own discovery.

How Are Parents Involved in the Montessori Education Process?

Richmond Hill Montessori encourages parent involvement through conferences, observation, materials preparation, Open House and special celebrations. The more parents understand about their child’s experiences in the classroom,the better they are able to continue and expand the learning process at home.