About

To learn more about Montessori, please watch the video or click on the tabs above.

Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870.  She was a math prodigy, a physicist, and an anthropologist.  At 24 years of age she was the first woman to graduate from the medical school in Rome.  She was a pragmatist, a visionary and a humanitarian; a friend of Gandhi’s and Thomas Edison’s; a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  Her face is on Italy’s 1000 lire bill.  Today, we know Maria Montessori best for the educational method that bears her name.

Maria Montessori came to education in a roundabout way.  She was a doctor in a Rome psychiatric clinic and her patients were children from orphanages and asylums across the city.  She saw her patients first and foremost as human beings, and searched for ways to help improve their mental and spiritual (as well as physical) health.  In trying to reach their minds, she made discoveries so fascinating that she left her medical practice.  She applied what she learned, testing and  refining her ideas throughout the rest of her long life.

Being interested in the end-result of education rather than its method, Montessori focused on developing “a complete human being, oriented to the environment and adapted to his or her time, place and culture.”  She worked with no preconceived ideas about how young people should be taught.  She simply observed them, gathering evidence about how their minds worked and formulating tools that responded to their needs.

In 1906, she accepted the challenge to work with a group of sixty children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome.  It was there that she founded the first Casa dei Bambini, or “Children’s House.”  What ultimately became the Montessori method of education developed there was based upon Montessori’s scientific observations of these children’s effortless ability to absorb knowledge  from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials.  Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every method Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do “naturally,” by themselves, unassisted by adults.

Her observations contained groundbreaking insights into human development and cognition – insights that are largely upheld by research today.   We can do no better than introduce her words, and then step aside.  Montessori died in Holland in 1952, but her work continues.  Today there are close to five thousand private and approximately two hundred public Montessori schools in the United States.

Maria Montessori On Teaching:  “A teacher must be consecrated to bettering humanity.  She must be like the vestal who kept the scared fire that others had lighted pure and free from contamination; the teacher must be dedicated to the fire of the inner life in all its purity.  If this flame is neglected, it will be extinguished – never to be lighted again.”

MontessoriTraditional
The learning process develops cognitive structures and social skills.The teaching process focuses on knowledge and social skills.
The child actively participates in the selection of what he will study. The teacher is a guide, but has an unobtrusive role in classroom activities.The teacher has a dominant role in most classroom activities. The child becomes a passive participant in learning.
Children choose their own work based on their own interests and abilities.The topics of study are based on the teacher's work plans and the child's interests are rarely considered.
The environment and methodology teach the child internal self-discipline and control of one's will.The responsibility of disciplinarian and enforcer of the rules is placed with the teacher.
Instruction is tailored to an individual child's learning style.Instruction style will be determined by the teacher's style.
A classroom will contain children of different ages (e.g. 3 - 6 year olds in the Primary level classroom.)Typically children are grouped in classrooms by age.
Children are encouraged to teach and help each other and collaborate where appropriate. Competition between students is discouraged.Most instruction is given solely by the teacher and collaboration is discouraged. Competition is offended fostered.
The child formulates intellectual concepts from the self-teaching, self-correcting materials offered in the classroom. The child determines the pace of learning on a specific concept.The teacher guides the child to the prescribed concepts at a predetermined pace.
The child is given the freedom to work on a specific task or project for as long as they see fit.A child is usually given a specific time frame in which to complete a task.
The materials in a classroom are designed to provide the child feedback, which allows them to correct their own work.When work needs to be corrected, the teacher usually has to find and point out the errors to the child.
Reinforcement of learning is achieved through the child's own repetition of the work and their internal feeling of accomplishment.Reinforcement of learning comes through external measures such as rote repetition and rewards/discouragements.
The classroom if filled with multi-sensory materials in all subject areas. The physical exploration of classroom materials is encouraged, providing for sensory development and concrete learning experiences.Very few materials offered in the class are designed for physical manipulation.
The independence of the child is emphasized and taught by offering an organized practical life program to teach self-care and care of the environment (e.g. washing windows, cleaning tables, sweeping floors, preparing snack.)Much less emphasis is placed on self-care and the teacher is the primary maintainer of the classroom environment.
The child is free to move around the class at will as long as she does not disrupt the work of others. Group work is usually optional or negotiable.The child is required to sit still in his assigned seat and listen during the group's lessons.

Is Montessori only for certain types of children?

The Montessori Method of education is not directed at any particular type of child.  In fact, Montessori is advantageous for many different styles of learning.  Some children learn better by touching, some by listening, and some by doing.  There are many different ways children become successful in a Montessori classroom.

What are the benefits of the multi-age classroom?

In a Montessori,  multi-age classroom the students are taught according to developmental stages, rather than age or grade designation. Students remain with the same teacher for the three year cycle. The better a teacher knows a student, the easier it is for the teacher to provide appropriate instruction.   Each year the student experiences a new class position as they transition from a “novice” to a “mentor”. Our teachers focus on students’ learning needs rather than on grade-level curriculum. The teacher’s attention is not divided between the age groups. Therefore, students have the advantage of continuous learning, and in some cases will be ahead of their peers in a traditional class setting.

As a parent, there are many benefits to the multi-age environment : stronger relationship with the teacher, child is more positive about school, child learns to be more pro-social, independent, and responsible. Child learns to self-initiate.

Is a Montessori classroom unstructured?

A Montessori classroom is one of the most structured learning environments.  The classroom operates on a balance between the freedoms, or choices, offered to the student and the student’s self-discipline.  There is a place and order for all materials.  The child is only allowed to work with materials on which she/he has been given a lesson.  Everything, except the child’s time, is structured.  She/he may work with any piece of material for as long as she likes.  This helps develop concentration in the child when she is not constantly interrupted by the adult to change activities.  We trust the child knows when she is finished with work and is ready to put it away.  This develops a sense of accomplishment in the child and a pride in work that is completed.

Is the Montessori student-teacher ratio too high?

All Montessori classrooms include a three-year age span, 3-6, 6-9, or 9-12 years of age.  Thus every class has experienced as well as new students, each working at his own level and at his own pace. The variety of work being done creates a rich learning environment which stimulates curiosity and interest.  Students are encouraged to develop a high level of independence as well as to assist younger classmates.  Class size is designed to be large enough to foster an optimal learning environment, but small enough to allow for appropriate guidance and supervision. Montessori classes usually have between 12-18 children in a classroom with two adults (a teacher and an assistant).  The teacher is not the focus of the classroom;  it is, instead, the Montessori materials and the “prepared environment” that are the focus.   The teacher serves merely as a guide to help the children learn the materials and the social graces of belonging to a community beyond the family.  The learning comes from the child working independently with the materials, not solely with interaction with the teacher.

 

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Fayette  Montessori School was established in 1991 with a group of six children. It quickly grew to three primary classes and a toddler program. In 1997 we built our present building and in 2004 we purchased the adjacent buildings and began our Elementary programs.

FMS is recognized by AMI (Association Montessori International) as an accredited school.

FMS is also recognized by The Georgia Accrediting Commission

We are evaluated every three years by AMI, which was founded in 1929 by Dr. Maria Montessori. AMI is recognized as the authority on Montessori education.

Fayette Montessori welcomes families without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin.