The Montessori Philosophy
The Montessori method has been in existence for over one hundred years. We believe once trained in the Montessori method, the adult learner should promote the following traits in children:
Independence: The child should be able to choose his or her own work, apply energy to that work, complete it to a personal criterion of completion, take and return the work to the place it is customarily kept, in such a way that another child will be able to find the work ready to do. Furthermore, the child should be able to feel enough independence so that they can seek help and locate further resources that will allow them to continue the self-chosen task without necessarily involving the teacher.
Confidence and Competence: The child's self-perceived successes should be far more numerous than his or her self-perceived failures. The child should be capable of self-correcting work, upon observation, reflection, or discussion.
Autonomy: The child should be able to personally decide to accept or reject inclusion in another child's work or work group with equanimity.
Intrinsic Motivation: The child should develop an intrinsic desire to be drawn to continue working for the apparent pure pleasure of so doing. However, once having achieved a particular competence, a normalized child should move on to revel in mastery by showing others.
Ability to Handle External Authority: The child should be able to develop an acceptance of the "ground rules" of the group as appropriate in his or her dealing with other children. In situations where the child is distant from the teacher he/she should be able to function as if the teacher were nearby.
Social Responsibility: Independent and autonomous persons are always a part of a group and must attain independence and autonomy through participation in group activity. The loss of these qualities by one of a group is a loss for all. Students should attain independence and autonomy and, at the same time, develop social responsibility.
Academic Preparation: In Montessori education, children learn to learn by learning. Academic preparation entails activation and cultivation of inherent powers and processes through which the learner becomes a supplier of meanings or of things-meaningfully-known. Academic skills are essential to learning and knowing, not the aim of learning and knowing.
Spiritual Awareness: Montessori views the child as a spiritual embryo. Implications are conveyed by the metaphor. All humans are spiritual beings as well as physical beings. They have spiritual health as well as physical health. Montessori sees no need to establish whether or not the source of spirit is theological and does not offer theological explanation. The spiritual embryo simply thrives on spiritual investment. The investment can be theological, humane, or combination of the two.
Citizens of the World: All children are part of both a world political system and a world ecological system. Both systems have their constitutions and all must learn to live by the letter and spirit of their laws. As a naturalist, Montessori knew about the laws of mind and of nature and understood the consequences of disobeying either of them.