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What is Montessori?

Belmont Greene Early Montessori Program

Foundations of the Montessori Method

Foundational principles, specially trained teachers, the prepared classroom environment, and diverse age groups form the core of Montessori education. It is a whole-child approach to learning, which allows teachers to meet children where they are to help them reach where they want to be. 

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Practical Life

Also called Daily Living, the work in this section sets the stage for all that is to come. Concentration, the first essential of human development, is the primary focus. However, through this work, the child also learns patience, critical thought, independence, and the ability to care for himself, others, and their environment. From birth to three years old, the classroom is composed mainly of practical life work. Gradually, sensorial, language, and math materials appear as the child approaches three years old. Over the next few years, the child will spend a great deal of time doing practical life work -not so much because the teacher directs them there, but because they are drawn there by their own internal interests.


Each of the Montessori materials is designed with direct and indirect aims. While the sensory materials deal directly with the development of the senses, the children also learn skills of gradation, critical thought, problem-solving, pincer grip, and preparation for math. Many of the sensory materials are self-correcting, but the lessons given by the teacher require increased patience and focus as the work becomes more complex.


Montessori academics begin with concrete ideas, and the child moves toward abstraction. There is almost always a tangible representation of the concept present in each work, which allows children to use their hands to internalize the work. Sounds are taught phonetically using sandpaper letters, a sand tray, pictures, and objects, and the children use the movable alphabet to build words in preparation for writing.


Once again, children are introduced to math in a very concrete way. Before the symbol, the child experiences the quantity. Next, the lessons attach the amount to the symbol. Throughout all of the operations of math, with any number, children are always presented with the corresponding physical representation of the quantity. With the golden beads, children physically build numbers. Once numbers can be built, they can then be added to, multiplied, subtracted from, or divided. In this manner, the children develop a strong foundation in mathematics.


Our philosophy leads us to view each child as an individual so that we may meet them where they are to help them reach where they want to be. We consider the whole child and offer guidance toward the development of emotional/social skills, physical, and academic learning. Children are guided in a non-linear education, in which they will return to previously learned skills for refinement, adaptation, and progression toward mastery.

During the first six years of life, our priority is upon the development of executive functioning skills such as problem-solving, inhibitory control, and patience, which combine into emerging leadership. We look toward the adult each child will one day become as we assist them in finding their own interests and strengths and assume their unique places in the classroom community. As their world grows, we partner with each child so that the character traits and social/emotional skills they learn will stay with them long after they leave the classroom.

Physical Environment

The room is specially designed to enable independent growth in each child. The materials in the room are precise, and many of them were created by Dr. Montessori herself to appeal to children as they move through sensitive periods of interest. Everything is child-sized, arranged in an organized way, and placed at the child’s level. There is no “teacher’s desk,” and the room is fully available for all students to explore. The space should feel like the rooms of a home more than a classroom. Here, you’ll find a variety of plants and beautiful artwork, comfortable areas to relax, and furniture made of natural wood. As in the home, children have everything they need to feel a sense of ownership and to care for themselves, each other and the environment.

Mixed Age Grouping (Primary and up)

The three-year age span in the environment ensures that there is something for everyone. In fact, without this element of Montessori, the philosophy/methodology and physical environment will only go so far. This is mainly due to the fact that all children are considered teachers in their own way. The Montessori guide helps children to form a self-sustaining community where they can learn from one another. Older children model leadership, while younger children are encouraged to find connections with their older peers. The materials fill an extensive range from simple to complex so that all children will find meaningful and personally relevant work.

More than 100 years ago, Dr. Montessori created a method of education that focuses on
the development of the whole child. Science and modern educational theory are only just now catching up with her. Through her work, she came to understand both the unique and universal needs of children. She was able to apply her scientific knowledge as a doctor in designing a classroom environment that considers every aspect of the child. Dr. Montessori laid out a philosophy that promotes peace, independence, respect, and friendship. She designed manipulative academic materials for a comprehensive range of abilities and created a method of training teachers to guide
children through their own developmental pathways. At MAB, we combine all of these elements with a faculty of master teachers to provide an authentic Montessori experience for each child and parent.

Elevating the Standard of Early Childhood Education

Montessori Academy will take your child's education to another level
with personalized guidance at every step.