The Meaning of Montessori 2018-03-20T13:45:24+00:00

The Northwoods Montessori Philosophy — A Commitment to Child-Based Learning

At Northwoods Montessori, we like to say that our purpose is “To provide a foundation for life-long learning that enhances personal integration and understanding of interdependence.”

We structure all of our programs to support child-based learning — that is, learning based upon direct observations of young children. Dr. Montessori’s study and research led her to conclude that childrens’ intellectual and spiritual growth progress best in an environment of community and self-discovery. Therefore we offer — as she did — distinct educational programs that align with your child’s individual needs and learning tendencies. Our programs combine brain-based educational theory, unique instructional materials, Montessori philosophy, and a keen understanding of developmental stages to educate and delight students from ages 1-12. Learn more about child-based learning.

At our Atlanta campus, Montessori-trained instructors work individually with each child to develop natural learning skills, cognitive development, and emotional growth through the use of independent learning and exploration. At each level, children are connected to nature, where what they learn applies in a way that makes the environment come to life with a vivid awareness. Child-based learning implies a connection to the natural environment as every child’s birthright. Whether it is a walk in the rain or a primitive camping expedition, we make every effort to prepare the child with all the experiences that will make the natural outing a learning success. Learn more about Northwoods Montessori and our approach to child-based learning.

A Tiny Montessori History Lesson

Dr. Maria Montessori developed her ground-breaking educational standards — the Montessori Method — in Italy in the early 20th century. She founded The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in 1929. Based in the Netherlands, AMI has since been the agency for accredited teacher training and for school recognition, based on Dr. Montessori’s scrupulous standards. In the U.S., AMI is represented by AMI/USA. Click below for more Montessori resources.

This represents just a small sampling of the many books about the Montessori method of education.

Montessori Today, by Paula Polk Lillard, 1997, Shocken Books
Montessori Insights for Parents of Young Children, by Aline D. Wolf, 2005, Parent Child Press, Inc.
Montessori, The Science Behind the Genius, by Angeline Stoll Lillard, 2005, Oxford University Press
The Montessori Method, by Maria Montessori, 1909
Peace and Education, by Maria Montessori, 1932
The Child in the Family, by Maria Montessori, 1936
The Discovery of the Child, by Maria Montessori, 1948
The Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori, 1949

Association Montessori Internationale, founded in 1929 by Dr. Maria Montessori
The Michael Olaf Montessori Company provides practical advice for using Montessori philosophy in all kinds of settings. Since 1982 it has been a favorite source. The Michael Olaf publications are available to be read online as well as ordered.
Aid To Life is a treasure trove of advice and information for parents that supports natural child development and the Montessori philosophy.
North American Montessori Teachers’ Association
Montessori Institute of Atlanta for Elementary teacher training and other program information
International Montessori Training Institute offers AMI Primary Teacher Training

The Montessori Curriculum: Lifelong Learning and Interdependence

Children enrolled in Northwoods Montessori follow a curriculum designed to emphasize relationships, development, and learning under Dr. Montessori’s directive to “Follow the child, but follow the child as his leader.” Instead of subject areas, children are offered learning experiences that support natural brain development and answer their physical, spiritual, and intellectual needs. The Montessori curriculum maintains unique learning environments for each age level to encourage the advancement of their skills.

Children acquiring a Montessori education are encouraged to pursue individual goals and develop self-awareness, determination, and self-control. At each age level, children engage in communication about the natural world and explore art and music. Engaging stories provide each child with an awareness of geography and fellow human beings.
In the Montessori curriculum, areas of study such as language, math, geometry, geography, and history are presented in a social setting made up of children of multiple ages in an ungraded class. Our class sizes instill a sense of social responsibility, fairness and kindness. The Montessori Method is notable in encouraging children to treat themselves and others with respect by learning in an atmosphere that allows them to freely communicate.

Faculty members at Northwoods Montessori are required to follow the Association Montessori Internationale standards of teaching. This creates effective, innovative educational programs and a work environment with a strong sense of support. Teachers following the Montessori curriculum are given the autonomy to creatively implement lesson plans using the Montessori Method. Each teacher is prepared to observe a child’s explorations and to offer learning exercises, encouraging the children to pursue their distinctive interests.
Our Montessori Toddler Curriculum focuses on learning language and developing movement. The toddler community is treated as a group – they eat together, listen to stories together, sing, dance, and go for walks together. A Montessori education for toddlers is unique, and includes baking bread and setting the table. The next step for a child who has found joy in walking upright is to achieve independence with the hands and engage in a dynamic functional social group.
Children enrolled in the Montessori Primary Curriculum explore and learn in a sensory way. Their learning tools range from common housekeeping materials to precise representations of mathematical and geometrical relationships. The Montessori curriculum also offers musical instruments and specific vocabulary to apply to observations of the natural world. With the Montessori Method, children engaging in the Primary Curriculum learn about the physical world, animals and people, language and measurement. They learn to care for each other and for their environment, to write and read, and to carry out simple arithmetic operations within the decimal system.
The Montessori Elementary Curriculum offers “Cosmic Education” to elementary-aged children. In story form, children hear five important lessons at the beginning of each year, including “The Creation of Earth,” “The Coming of Plants and Animals,” and “The Birth of Language.” Because children question the history of the world, the Montessori Elementary Curriculum aims to make basic answers to these questions available, enticing the child to dig deeper to reveal the history and detail of these stories. Information required at grade levels in local public schools serves as a touchstone, and teachers review with children to ensure equivalent topics are being covered. Teachers guide each child, meeting with them individually to discover what material should be reviewed and what additional lessons they require.