Montessori Curriculum

Montessori is a way of life. Even more than the activities and the space is the nature of the interaction between the student and the educator. It seeks to encourage the child’s curiosity and accept them without judgement. In the Montessori approach, the child is their own unique person and educators support them much like a gardener; planting the seeds, providing the right conditions, offering nutrition and adjusting care based on a close observation of growth.

Dr. Maria Montessori was one of the first female doctors in Italy tending to needy children in Rome. She immersed herself in educational philosophy, psychology and anthropology calling her work “an education for life”. Her work drew interest and spread internationally since the children were found to thrive and even exceed state expectations under the Montessori educational structure. Some famous attendees of Montessori education include: Larry Page (founder of Google), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), Gabriel Marquez (Nobel Prize winner) and many more.

The following are some key Montessori Principles:

Prepared environment

“The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult”

Maria Montessori, “The secret of Childhood” 1966

Maria Montessori believed that the classroom environment is the “third teacher”, it had a direct influence on how the child learns and what he can learn.

Children learn, not only to make choices but to be responsive to their “inner teacher” and develop confidence and independence.

Montessori materials in the prepared environment are child-sized on low shelves, open, available, organized and attractive.

Montessori Trained Teachers

M.A.C.T.E (Montessori Accreditation Council of Teacher Education) accredited and /or A.M.I (Association of Montessori International) teachers are trained in the importance of observation. Through thorough observation, Montessori educators are able to assess the interests of the child and guide them to developmentally appropriate materials to enhance each child’s unique interests, abilities and social, emotional, cognitive, physical and intellectual development.

Natural desire to learn

Children have an intrinsic motivation to learn. Babies try to stand over and over again till they master the art of walking – all by themselves within a supportive environment. The same applies to learning to talk, read, write, mathematics and everyday tasks essential for daily life. In Montessori, the ages of the children are mixed so younger children can learn from observing older children and older children can consolidate their learning and hone their leadership skills by helping younger children. Guiding light Montessori has been set up to deliver exactly this by allowing our students to be intrinsically curious learners. A multi-age classroom is unique to Montessori philosophy and mimics real life experience where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and abilities

Hands-on concrete learning

Hands take in information to pass on to the brain. We learn on a deeper level when we integrate our listening or watching with using our hands. This is also known as active learning. The materials in a Montessori classroom are beautifully prepared and so attractive that children are drawn to them to make discoveries for themselves. Guiding light provides tactile learning experiences, educators name objects as children hold them, provide materials like fasteners to open and close things, offer stimulation like digging fingers into dough or sensory beads. Each and every object and activity has a purpose. It is progressive and systematic material. Step by step the child learns from basic concept to complex concepts. The materials helps in laying a solid foundation for a child. The control of error in each materials develops independence and self-correcting mechanism so the child independently learns and master the activity developing independent life skills.

Sensitive periods

When children show interest in an area like movement, math or reading – it is known as a sensitive period, which is when the child is most attuned to learning a certain skill or concept. Educators watch for sensitive periods and provide appropriate activities to encourage those interests. For instance when toddlers start to mimic we know they are in a sensitive period for language so we focus on vocabulary by always using rich language, naming everything with its proper name, reading books etc. According to Maria Montessori when children follow their own interests there is intrinsic motivation and the learning is solid. Activities that capture the interest and attention of the child leads to sustained concentration building the most important component for learning and understanding of concepts for a child. Montessori Educators through documented observations guide children to initiate extended activities and introduce a variety of experiences. All of the areas of learning are gradually introduced to ensure the overall development of the child.

Freedom and limits

Montessori classrooms allow children the freedom to choose what they would like to work on (if its available), the freedom to rest or observe another child (without causing disruption) and the freedom to move around the classroom (as long as they respect the people around them). At Guiding Light Montessori we are keen to provide freedom within limits by facilitating an “Uninterrupted Work Cycle” which is a two and half to three hour cycle where children freely choose the activity and work either in a group setting or independently. The uninterrupted work cycle facilitates the development of concentration and independence. This uninterrupted time allows the children to explore and discover, observe and understand concepts and be creative with their work.

Independence and responsibility

“Help me to help myself” is a philosophy we strongly believe at Guiding Light. A Guiding Light Montessori education allows children to become remarkably independent. Children want to be able to do more, to contribute and to be a part of society. They get immense satisfaction from putting on their shoe or knowing to put something back where it belongs. Independence teaches responsibility for self-care, care for others and care for the environment. Responsibility allows children to learn how to handle fragile things, how to offer help, take care of belongings.


Observation is the basis of a Montessori approach. Children will observe and be factual in recording what they see and educators will observe where the child is in their learning and provide materials based on their curiosity. The two coexist in this environment where skills are continually mastered because a healthy observation between all individuals exists.

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