The Montessori Approach

at Great Journeys


Why Montessori? 

Montessori students develop creativity and confidence, critical thinking and problem solving skills, and a positive, collaborative attitude - all key attributes that stay with them throughout their education and life. 


What is Montessori?

Montessori is an individualized approach to education for children from toddler through high school that helps each child reach full potential in all areas of life. It is a student-centered approach that encourages creativity and curiosity and leads children to ask questions, explore, investigate and think for themselves as they acquire skills.

A Montessori environment focusses more on a student's learning than on a teacher's teaching. Specially trained Montessori teachers guide, coach and facilitate each child's learning through continuous observation and assessment.

“Our aim is not merely to make children understand, and still less to force them to memorize, but so to touch their imaginations as to enthuse them to their innermost core.” 


Why is it unique?

1.  The "Whole Child" Approach
The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive skills. Under the direction of a specially trained teacher, the holistic curriculum allows the child to experience the joy of learning, gives the child time to enjoy the process, ensures the development of self-esteem, and provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.

2.  The "Responsive, Prepared, Adaptive Environment" 
In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment - facilities, room, materials, social climate, and experiences - must be supportive of the learner. The teacher provides necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate. 
An atmosphere of support and trust enables the children to explore and discover confidently.

3.  Mixed Age Groupings
The multi-age grouping in each class provides a family-like setting where learning can take place naturally. More experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own knowledge and skills. The multi-age community interaction is intrinsic to Montessori. This encourages rich language experiences, and opportunities for the development of empathy and social learning.

In order to respond to the diversity of individual children’s developmental needs, classes in the Casa and Elementary programmes group children across a three-year age span.  Toddler programmes may have a one year age span in order to comply with Ministry guidelines and/or the individual school’s programming.

Learning with and from each other to develop the social skills that form a class community.  The social setting is like that of an extended family.  The emergent skills of the individual children come together to form the class community.

4.  Co-operation and Collaboration
Children are encouraged to respect and support one another in their learning, and with their daily needs and experiences.  Learning is a social process. 

5.  The Montessori Materials
Dr. Montessori's scientific observations of the children led her to design a number of multisensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials.  These facilitate learning which builds from the concrete to the abstract in constructing their knowledge.

6.  Self-Directed Learning
Children are free to work at their own pace with materials they have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher relies on his or her observations of the children to determine which new activities and materials may be introduced to an individual child or to a small or large group. The aim is to encourage active, self-directed learning and to strike a balance of individual mastery with small group collaboration within the whole group community.

7.  Freedom within Limits
Each Montessori class, from toddlers through elementary, operates on the principle of freedom within limits. Every program has its set of ground rules which differ from age to age, but is always based on core Montessori beliefs - respect for each other and for the environment.

8.  The Teacher
Originally called a "Directress", the Montessori teacher functions as designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record keeper, and meticulous observer of each child's behaviour and growth.

The teacher acts as a facilitator of learning. This extensive training includes supervised classroom practice teaching and is specialized for the age group with which a teacher will work, i.e., infant and toddler, 3 to 6 year olds, 6 to 9 year olds, and 9 to 12 year olds.


Montessori Learning Outcomes

1.  Independence. 

Children are able to choose their own work, become engaged, construct their knowledge and complete it to their satisfaction.  Guidance is given and children are able to seek help when necessary.

2.  Confidence and Competence. 

The children upon observation, reflection, and/or discussion, should be capable of correcting their own work.  They should be able to manage the various materials with a clear sense of purpose, leading them to further understanding.

3.  Intrinsic Motivation. 

Children are able to work for the pleasure of doing so, without rewards or fear.  Children routinely demonstrate newly achieved competencies to one another.

4.  Ability to Handle External Authority. 

Children should be able to manage the classroom rules that have been established.  They should demonstrate a level of discipline with or without the direction and correction of an adult.

5.  Social Responsibility/Leadership.  

Children demonstrate social responsibility and leadership skills, such as empathy, communication, initiative and resiliency.

6.  Academic Preparation. 

Children are acquiring academic skills appropriate to their age and stage, their interests, their abilities, potential and achieving individualized success.

7.  Global Awareness. 

The children are encouraged to develop qualities of citizenship and stewardship through an understanding and respect for cultural diversity and environmental awareness.

8.  Respect.  

There are opportunities to develop and practice qualities of peace and conflict resolution in their interactions with others.

9.  Recordkeeping of Children’s Progress.  

The teacher shows an understanding of children’s progress and keeps clear and adequate records, as a continuous form of assessment.

10. Approachability.  

The children approach the teacher with ease and confidence, reflecting a personal connection and a sense of security.

11. Role Modeling.  

The teacher reflects the essential qualities of respect, order, enjoyment and engagement.

12. Spontaneity and Joy. 

The teacher nourishes and encourages spontaneity and expressions of the joy of learning. 


How is Creativity Encouraged?

Creativity thrives in an atmosphere of acceptance and trust. Montessorians recognize that children, from toddlers to teenagers, learn and express themselves in a very individual way. Making choices, taking risks, self-correction of mistakes, openess to different perspectives, and the growth of self-confidence all encourage creativity to flourish. 

Music, art, storytelling, movement, and drama are part of every Montessori programme, as well as an emphasis on the sensory aspect of experience; and the opportunity for both verbal and nonverbal modes of learning.