Montessori Education

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Montessori Education?

Montessori Education is a method of teaching that is based on collaborative play, self-directed activity, and hands-on learning. Montessori teachers are often referred to as Director/ Directress or Guides because what they do is direct and guide the child toward what they need to teach themselves.

Montessori Education allows for teaching individually or in small groups which allows the teacher to get immediate feedback and see how well the child is absorbing the lesson and if there are any questions to be answered. Montessori educators are trained in the science of child observation, they spend every day observing the class and how it is functioning as a whole and in turn how the children are progressing with their work.

Unlike traditional schools, preschools, or day-care programs, a Montessori environment offers a multi-age-level approach to learning. Students remain with a single teacher for three years. This allows strong bonds to form between the teacher and child, between the teacher and the child’s parents, and between students.

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Higher Diploma in Early Years Montessori Education – The study of early years Montessori Education for those who wish to embark on a career working with children in a Montessori environment.
  • Level 6 Special Purpose Award In Montessori Education For Dementia – The study of a Montessori approach to dementia care and caring for the aging.
  • Level 7 Or Level 8 Montessori Education – The study of Montessori Education and care for the child, birth to twelve years.
  • Montessori Part 2, Early Years Care & Education – The study of the concept of progression in child development in Montessori Education.
  • Montessori Teaching – The study of child development, comparative early years methodologies, and how to create a positive learning Montessori environment for children.

Studying Montessori Education in college

Montessori Education is a very hands-on approach to learning and so it is to be expected that taking a course in Montessori Education will also be very hands-on and have a “Learn by doing” approach.

It is very typical for a Montessori Education course to have students spend some time attending classes and working on theory work and alternate this with work placement in a Montessori setting for practical experience.

Work experience in an approved Montessori school, under the guidance of a qualified and experienced Montessori directress, will be an integral part of your learning journey. You will have the opportunity to put into practice the exercises and skills you will have learned during the course and be given the chance to use these skills to develop and guide the children in a real-life setting. A variety of assessment methods is also very typical when taking a Montessori course so that students with different learning styles can be supported. These may vary from written reports to practical case studies or examinations

Career options

After completing a course in Montessori Education you will have the skills and knowledge to work in early years setting, nursery, or Montessori School. You could even go on to set up your Montessori school if this is something you would like to achieve or you could work your way up in a school and become a Head of school or a Nursery Manager.

Related jobs include:

  • Montessori Educator
  • Montessori Director
  • Montessori Directress
  • Montessori Guide
  • Montessori Class Assistant
  • Montessori Teacher Trainer

Further study

After completing a course in Montessori Education you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to add to your skill base for greater opportunities in your career. You may be interested in studying further in fields such as child development research, special needs support, psychology and counseling for children and youth sports education and coaching, or even humanitarian education initiatives all of which you can add a new approach to with your Montessori Education background.


Are there any particular qualities you need to study Montessori Education?

Montessori Education is about independence, following the child, and preparing an environment conducive to self-lead learning. A Montessori Educator helps children to find out for themselves and guide them rather than giving them facts so patience and kindness are very important.

You need to be able to guide and lead to pave the way for children to grow into caring and compassionate adults. You should have good attention to detail as a Montessori Educators’ role is largely to observe the child and know when to move them up to the next level.

What are the Five Principles of Montessori Education?

Principle 1: Respect for the Child

Montessori believed children should be respected and respect is shown for children by not interrupting their concentration. Respect is also shown by giving pupils the freedom to make choices, to do things for themselves, and to learn for themselves.

Principle 2: The Absorbent Mind

Montessori education is based on the principle that, simply by living, children are constantly learning from the world around them. Through their senses, children constantly absorb information from their world and then make sense of it through practice and a hands-on approach.

Principle 3: Sensitive Periods

Sensitive periods are periods during which children are more ready to learn certain skills. The order in which these sensitive periods occur as well as the timing of the period varied for each child. Through observation, Montessori teachers must identify sensitive periods in their students and provide the resources for children to flourish during this time.

Principle 4: The Prepared Environment

Montessori suggests that children learn best in an environment that has been prepared to enable them to do things for themselves. Teachers should prepare the learning environment by making materials and experiences available to children in an orderly and independent way. Always child-centered, the learning environment should promote freedom for children to explore materials of their choice.

Principle 5: Auto education

Auto education, or self-education, is the concept that children are capable of educating themselves. This is one of the most important beliefs in the Montessori Method. Montessori teachers provide the environment, the inspiration, the guidance, and the encouragement for children to educate themselves.

Where can I study Montessori Education?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Maria Montessori was the first woman to receive a medical degree in Italy.
  • Helen Keller was a good friend of Maria Montessori and helped Maria develop many of her sensory materials.
  • Maria Montessori left Italy during World War II. She moved to India where she and Gandhi often discussed the role of children and their education in promoting world peace.
  • Anne Frank was a student in a Montessori school before she and her family went into hiding.
  • In 1915, a Montessori class was set up at the San Francisco World’s Fair. Maria Montessori won two gold medals for education.

Mariza Halliday

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