Maria Montessori is an Italian educator, physician, and innovator, famous for the revolutionary education method. The Montessori teacher approach builds on a child’s natural curiosity and inclination to explore through risky play, while children are given space, and resources to learn at their own pace, and in ways that are less restrictive, and more natural.
“We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”
― Maria Montessori
At Montessori Nature, we know that the Montessori teacher gives students confidence and a feeling of self-reliance, which in turn helps them expand their potential.
What Does a Montessori Teacher Do?
Based on experience working in a 3-6 classroom, the definition of a Montessori teacher can vary.
A great portion of Montessori training is learning how to present and utilize Montessori materials. This is one thing that Montessorians go nuts about. Thorough intimate knowledge of every single piece of Montessori material, its purpose, and presentation make a teacher. It is the biggest part of the whole process.
A Montessori teacher functions mainly as a guide and an observer of the behavior and progress of the students.
Montessori teachers create a learning environment and allow students to self-educate.
By creating the right environment the teacher gives the students a chance to take part in freely chosen activities. This ensures long periods of concentration and helps children learn with ease and with pleasure.
Given freedom, students are prone to prosper and build healthy relationships within their small society (the classroom).
“Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.”
The Montessori teacher has two main roles: to observe and to guide.
“The teacher must derive not only the capacity but the desire, to observe natural phenomena. The teacher must understand and feel her position of observer: the activity must lie in the phenomenon. “
― Maria Montessori
He/she supports students while they make decisions and engage in various activities. Teachers who practice the Montessori method let children face mistakes and help them learn from them. Sometimes the Montessori educators intervene in the process, especially if a child is at the brink of harm.
The role builds around the preparation of learning materials tailored to the needs and interests of students. A huge part of it is to make the environment beautiful and eye-pleasing with realistic images and no-nonsense. Everything has to be as close to reality as possible.
Every teacher has to have the albums that she writes while doing training. Each material has a very specific lesson structure, language, etc. The Montessori teacher has to follow the sequence of presentations and present materials guiding students to the next activity. Children are not allowed to touch materials on the shelves they have not been given a lesson on.
“We recommend for the training of teachers not only a considerable artistic education in general but special attention to the art of reading.”
Being a guide and facilitator, the Montessori educator has to create a learning-friendly environment and atmosphere to aid youngsters advance from one activity and level to the next.
One of the most distinguished differences between Montessori teachers and traditional educators is that practitioners of the Montessori method aren’t the center of attention in the classroom.
A Montessori teacher takes a step back and lets students work on their own, thus teaching responsibility and discipline.
Role of The Teacher in Montessori using Play
What is the difference between play and work?
Parents of first encounters with Montessori always ask. The answer is simple! In the classroom, Montessori educators use the term “work” to build respect and show that things are getting serious, so to speak. In a primary classroom (3-6 years of age), the students are in charge of their day.
Children can move from one activity to the next without being interrupted, thus are free to follow their internal drive to explore and learn.
This method is what Maria Montessori called “auto-education”.
This way each classmate has the specific education they need and it allows each teacher the ability to observe each child and his growth.
The Montessori teacher must be fluent at many school subjects (history, math skills, first and/or foreign language, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, practical life works, etc). He/she must be able to present and convey knowledge in a creative and simple-to-understand way.
The lessons within the Montessori method are straight to the point, easy-to-grasp, and inspiration-spark curiosity in students.
In the classroom, the Montessori educator provides the learning materials and gives terse instructions. During lessons, the educator intertwines basic know-how and lets youngsters do their own work..
What is the Montessori Triangle?
The Montessori methodology is often portrayed as a triangle linking:
Maria Montessori firmly believed that children’s greatest teacher is within themselves. Her teaching revolves around the natural curiosity that drives children to learn and progress.
For this to happen, students require a specially prepared environment that offers the right stage for learning through trial and error.
The Montessori environment is children-sized, properly ordered, and interesting. It also nourishes activities that help children’s physical development and mental construction.
The Montessori Teacher
One of the main roles of the Montessori educator is to create and maintain the environment. Read on to the section where we dwell further on this, but generally, the Montessori educator observes each child daily to discover his needs and aids the student feel comfortable in the school environment through various activities.
After that, he/she steps back to allow a child to explore and self-educate.
Requirements, Qualifications, and Education to Become a Montessori Teacher
All Montessori educators must undergo specific training to understand this non-traditional schooling method.
There are a few institutions that offer Montessori teaching diplomas, but the most esteemed are those accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), which also offers training.
AMI training centers offer courses that continue from September to May, which allows the student to graduate with a diploma in one year of full-time work. There are also summer courses available that include interim work and take 2-4 summers to finish.
Each training center has its own application process, but most require the candidate to have a bachelor’s degree, although some exceptions are made. In AMI-accredited programs, people study the Montessori method, child development, and psychology for four age groups: Assistants to Infancy (0-3), Primary (3-6), Elementary (6-12), Adolescent (12-18).
What Skills Should You Possess to Become a Good Montessori Teacher?
You have to be a complex and enthusiastic persona in order to become a good Montessori teacher. Parents look for specific characteristics in Montessori teachers when on the look for the ideal Montessori center. You must possess the following qualities if you want to earn trust and become an extraordinary teacher:
Be passionate about alternative education;
Teach with preparation of the “spirit” in mind.
Be able to teach groups of children of varying ages, needs, and abilities;
Have patience and excellent observational, communication, and diagnostic skills;
Be able to multitask, stay calm under pressure, and treat everyone with love and understanding;
Have excellent planning and organizational skills;
Be creative and adaptive.
Quotes by Maria Montessori
“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.”
“The fundamental help in development, especially with little children of 3 years of age, is not to interfere. Interference stops activity and stops concentration.”
The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’
“She [the Montessori teacher] must acquire a moral alertness which has not hitherto been demanded by any other system, and this is revealed in her tranquility, patience, charity, and humility. Not words, but virtues, are her main qualifications.”
“The teacher has two tasks: to lead the children to concentration and to help them in their development afterwards.”
“The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.”
“An ordinary teacher cannot be transformed into a Montessori teacher, but must be created anew, having rid herself of pedagogical prejudices.”
“The instructions of the teacher consist then merely in a hint, a touch—enough to give a start to the child. The rest develops of itself.”
“Here is an essential principal of education: to teach details is to bring confusion; to establish the relationship between things is to bring knowledge.”
“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.”
“We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.”
Becoming a Montessori educator is a transformational process that never ceases to stop as the process is governed by the child himself. With every new classroom and every new student, the teacher will be challenged yet once again to keep referring back to what Maria Montessori taught us about the child, his development, and education.
It is the depth of every statement, the universal approach, and the desire to see every human be afforded the same respect and cultivate an appreciation for culture, self-expression, peace, freedom, and independence that often drive people to Montessori.
Becoming a Montessori educator often becomes a first step towards becoming that force that brings change we desire to see happening in our society.
About the author
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by Susan Mayclin Stephenson (Author), Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro MD (Author)
Montessori guidelines presented here have held true all over the world, no matter what the culture of the child, for over 100 years and prove to be as true in 2021 as ever. It is the goal of this book to help parents look for, discover, appreciate, and support the mental, physical, and emotional needs of the child in the first three years of life, in their own culture.
Then you probably support the concept of Montessori, a unique educational philosophy that fosters the growth of the whole child. No wonder studies show that across a range of abilities, children at Montessori schools significantly out-performed those given a traditional education.
The Practical Guide to the Montessori Method is aimed at parents who want to integrate the Montessori philosophy at home with their children. An international besteller in education and homeschooling, translated to four languages. It includes: A basic introduction to the principles of the Montessori philosophy, Numerous illustrated examples of how to apply it at home, classified by subject and age, and explained clearly and concisely,
by Susan Mayclin Stephenson (Author)
This is the perfect book for families helping with their children's education during the Covid epidemic. Homeschooling, or helping provide a balanced well-rounded education in an enjoyable way. These "culture" lessons are taught in Montessori teacher-training course—physics, biology, history and geography, and the art. They are presented here in great detail and lay the foundation before age six for the older child’s search for his Cosmic Task.
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by Susan Mayclin Stephenson (Author)
The word "Montessori" is not legally protected and is used sometimes in ways that have little to do with authentic Montessori practices. In this book the author, who has almost fifty years of AMI Montessori teaching and consulting experience and work as an oral examiner for teacher-training courses, briefly presents authentic Montessori practices for ages 3-6 (the primary class), ages 6-12 (the elementary class), and ages 12-18. Here are ideas for using Montessori principles in the home. One mother put it very well, "This book is deep yet simple. Even my husband had the time to read it and now we are using the ideas together, a happy couple."
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It’s time to change the way we see babies. Drawing on principles developed by the educator Dr Maria Montessori, The Montessori Baby shows how to raise your baby from birth to age one with love, respect, insight, and a surprising sense of calm. Cowritten by Simone Davies, author of the bestselling The Montessori Toddler, and Junnifa Uzodike, it’s a book filled with hundreds of practical ideas for understanding what is actually happening with your baby, and how you can mindfully assist in their learning and development.
A fifteen-year experience of day-by-day, year-by-year, learning how to create an authentic Montessori education at home through elementary, middle, and high school. The main guide or teacher during these years had taken AMI teacher training courses for 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 and had taught for many years. Even though this is not to be thought of as an instruction manual for Montessori homeschooling it is hoped that the book will be helpful for parents and teachers wanting to understand the value of a unique educational path, rather than thinking that all children should be educated exactly the same way (in both traditional and Montessori schools).
by Simone Davies (Author), Hiyoko Imai (Illustrator)
It’s time to change the way we see toddlers. Using the principles developed by the educator Dr. Maria Montessori, Simone Davies shows how to turn life with a “terrible two” into a mutually rich and rewarding time of curiosity, learning, respect, and discovery.
With hundreds of practical ideas for every aspect of living with a toddler, here are five principles for feeding your child’s natural curiosity, from “Trust in the child” to “Fostering a sense of wonder.”
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In "Aid to Life, Montessori Beyond the Classroom," the author shares stories based on fifty years of Montessori work in thirty countries, first as a teacher of children from 2-13 in Montessori schools, then discovering new ways to use Montessori principles in a variety of situations—all aimed at inspiring, and providing practical ideas, to parents and teachers today.
by Susan Mayclin Stephenson (Author)
"Traveling with Susan Stephenson through her book The Universal Child, Guided by Nature was a pleasure. Montessori practices applied to all cultures today, highlighted by Maria Montessori’s words, the author’s experience in many countries, and the eloquent photographs, generated in me a great enthusiasm to continue my journey through this path. Thank you for being a source of inspiration."
by Susan Mayclin Stephenson (Author), Angeline S. Lillard PhD (Author)
This book is based on 50 years of work in 30 countries, teaching, and observing and consulting with schools. Mindfulness is an ancient practice in the East, a great need for health and happiness in the West, and an everyday practice in Montessori schools. The author tells her own story of 45+ years of meditation and working in the Montessori field, and gives detailed suggestions for both parents and teachers to aid the development of this skill in themselves and in the children they live with.
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The At the Heart of Montessori series provides a thorough and easy-to-follow explanation of Maria Montessori's philosophy and educational method for all ages from birth to adolescence. These books will be of special interest to Montessori teachers or trainee teachers, acting as a support to, but not as a substitute for, Montessori teacher training.
by Linda Kavelin Popov (Author), Dan Popov (Author), John Kavelin (Author)
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by Cristina De Stefano (Author), Gregory Conti (Translator)
A fresh, comprehensive biography of the pioneering educator and activist who changed the way we look at children’s minds, from the author of Oriana Fallaci. Born in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, Maria Montessori would grow up to embody almost every trait men of her era detested in the fairer sex. She was self-confident, strong-willed, and had a fiery temper at a time when women were supposed to be soft and pliable. She studied until she became a doctor at a time when female graduates in Italy provoked outright scandal. She never wanted to marry or have children—the accepted destiny for all women of her milieu in late nineteenth-century bourgeois Rome—and when she became pregnant by a colleague of hers, she gave up her son to continue pursuing her career.
A parent's guide to building independence, creativity, and confidence in their children using Montessori learning techniques, written by Montessori president Tim Seldin. An international bestseller, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way adapts Montessori teachings for easy use at home. Packed with Montessori-based preschool activities and educational games that build confidence and independence through active learning, this authoritative illustrated guide helps raise self-reliant and creative children. Celebrate physical and intellectual milestones from birth to age six with activity checklists, and encourage development through proven child-centered teaching methods.
The Absorbent Mind was Maria Montessori's most in-depth work on her educational theory, based on decades of scientific observation of children. Her view on children and their absorbent minds was a landmark departure from the educational model at the time. This book helped start a revolution in education. Since this book first appeared there have been both cognitive and neurological studies that have confirmed what Maria Montessori knew decades ago.
by Maria Montessori (Author), Anne E. George (Translator)
The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori immediately captivated social reformers and educators around the world. First published in Italian in 1909, The Montessori Method has been translated into twenty languages, including the 1912 English translation. Its ideas were new and innovative compared to the traditional Lancasterian method in which large groups of children recited the teachers' words, word for word in unison.
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