About the Montessori Method

The Montessori Method is the result of the experiences and discoveries of
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870–1952). Maria Montessori observed that a child has
an “absorbent mind,” especially between the ages of three and six. She believed children should stay within a single classroom for three years to fully develop their conscious awareness of their whole selves. Learner outcomes of authentic Montessori programs include: independence, confidence & competence, autonomy, intrinsic motivation, social responsibility, academic preparation, spiritual awareness/cosmic education and global citizenship.

The Montessori classroom uses concrete materials that are self-correcting and allow children to learn at their own pace. These materials help the child to see, touch, feel and freely explore their environments without the teacher’s intervention. The Montessori teacher provides individual instruction within set guidelines. The children learn self respect, respect for others and respect for their environment. Montessori methods and materials promote inner discipline and self-motivation.

The main focus of a Montessori teacher is to guide each child by providing a well-prepared environment. This environment fosters the creativity and the curiosity of the child and also bolsters the child’s self-esteem. The child is able to learn independently and with the help of his peers and teacher. Children receiving Montessori instruction excel academically and socially and gain the confidence they need to reach their fullest potential.

What are some of the faults of traditional education as viewed by Montessori? To name a few: restriction of child’s activity, suppression of his spontaneity, use of external rewards and punishments, frequent interruptions, verbal “pouring-in” approach and inadequate teacher training. Says Montessori: “The educational methods now in use proceed on lines exactly the reverse of ours.”

The goal of both Montessori and traditional schools are the same: to provide learning experiences for the child. The biggest differences lie in the kinds of learning experiences each school provides and the methods they use to accomplish this goal.

What is the result of Montessori? A child that loves learning that will last a lifetime. Recent comments from educators from private secondary schools in the Birmingham area attest to the benefit of a Hilltop Montessori education:

“The students from Hilltop, without exception, are in the top 10% academically and always seem to have a strong background in science.” -9th grade Biology teacher

“…Several excel in creative endeavors; others crave and thrive within structure. Most display impressive critical thinking skills and are brave enough to address intellectual challenges. These last two qualities are particularly impressive for 5th/6th graders.” -5/6th grade English teacher

“Students are very good at seeing the big picture and understand the Why? How? and When? type questions in addition to just “cranking out an answer.” –Honors Algebra teacher

“Hilltop students’ biggest strength is their curiosity and enthusiasm”-8th grade social studies and AP US History Teacher.

Montessori Approach

Traditional Approach