Skip To Main Content

What is a Montessori School?

Student using the movable alphabet
Jennine Friess

Montessori schools offer a Montessori education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, which is a scientifically proven child-centered educational approach that emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development. This method nurtures a child’s intrinsic desire to learn, fostering a lifelong love of knowledge. The Montessori method is divided into several stages to cater to the developmental needs of children at different ages: Nido (infant), Toddler, Primary, and Elementary. A key aspect of a Montessori education is the use of multi-age classrooms and unique learning materials that support individualized learning.

Nido (Infant) Program Benefits:

  1. Nurturing Environment: The Nido program provides a safe and nurturing environment for infants, fostering a sense of security and trust.
  2. Sensory Exploration: Infants engage in sensory activities that stimulate their developing senses and promote cognitive growth.
  3. Motor Skills Development: Activities are designed to enhance both fine and gross motor skills, laying the foundation for future physical development.
  4. Language Acquisition: Through constant verbal interaction and exposure to language-rich environments, infants begin to develop their language skills.

Toddler Program Benefits:

  1. Independence: Toddlers are encouraged to perform tasks on their own, promoting self-reliance and confidence.
  2. Practical Life Skills: Activities such as pouring, sweeping, and dressing are introduced to help toddlers develop practical life skills.
  3. Social Skills: Interaction with peers in a cooperative setting helps toddlers learn essential social skills such as sharing and empathy.
  4. Cognitive Development: Hands-on activities and materials are designed to stimulate curiosity and cognitive growth.

Primary Program (Ages 3-6) Benefits:

  1. Individualized Learning: Children are free to choose activities that interest them, allowing for individualized learning and self-paced progress.
  2. Sensorial Activities: Materials that engage the senses help children refine their sensory perception and cognitive abilities.
  3. Foundation in Math and Language: Montessori materials introduce mathematical concepts and language skills in a concrete and tangible way.
  4. Cultural Awareness: Exposure to geography, science, and cultural studies broadens children’s understanding of the world.
  5. Unique Learning Materials: Montessori materials, designed to be self-correcting and hands-on, allow students to learn through discovery.

Elementary Program (Ages 6-12) Benefits:

  1. Integrated Curriculum: Subjects such as math, language, science, and history are interconnected, providing a holistic learning experience.
  2. Critical Thinking: Montessori encourages critical thinking and problem-solving through exploration and discovery.
  3. Collaboration: Group projects and peer learning foster collaboration and communication skills.
  4. Independence and Responsibility: Students are given increased responsibility for their learning, helping them develop independence and self-discipline.
  5. Multi-Age Classrooms: Children in multi-age classrooms learn from each other, with older students often mentoring younger ones, fostering a sense of community and love of learning.


Research has shown that Montessori students often outperform their peers in various areas. 

  1. Academic Achievement: Studies indicate that Montessori students typically perform as well as or better than their non-Montessori peers on standardized tests in reading and math.
  2. Social and Emotional Development: Montessori students often demonstrate higher levels of social and emotional development, including better self-regulation, empathy, and problem-solving skills.
  3. Creativity and Innovation: Montessori education fosters creativity and innovation, with students showing greater ability to think creatively and approach problems from different angles.
  4. Long-term Success: Longitudinal studies suggest that Montessori-educated students tend to perform well academically and socially in later stages of education and life. They are often more likely to pursue higher education and report higher levels of satisfaction in their careers and personal lives.


A Montessori education offers a unique and enriching approach to learning that supports the holistic development of children from infancy through elementary school. By fostering independence, curiosity, and a love for learning, a Montessori education equips children with the skills and mindset necessary for lifelong success. Whether through the nurturing environment of the Nido program, the independence-building activities of the Toddler program, the individualized learning in the Primary program, or the critical thinking and collaboration in the Elementary program, a Montessori education provides a strong foundation for a child’s growth and development.

  • Parent Resources