What does a Montessori education mean?

Here at AIS, our Montessori program focuses on fostering the potentialities present in every child:

  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Internalized ground rules and ability to work with authority
  • Creativity and originality of thought
  • Social and environmental responsibility
  • Autonomy
  • Confidence and competence
  • Spiritual awareness
  • Academic preparation

The Montessori method of education was developed by physician, philosopher and educator, Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Her revolutionary approach to education rests on a deep and abiding respect for the child, a respect that is manifested in every aspect of the classroom: child-sized furniture, carefully designed materials that allow the child to see her own achievements and self-correct any mistakes, and an environment that encourages the child to follow her natural impulse to work and learn.

Recent cognitive and behavioral research continues to support Montessori's remarkable methods. As our understanding of development, motivation and achievement increases, Montessori's approach to education resonates all the more with parents, educators and administrators. One resource that offers parents a chance to understand Montessori's work in the context of recent research is Angeline Stoll Lillard's 2005 publication, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. In this work, Lillard explains how, nearly a century after Maria Montessori created her groundbreaking method of education, contemporary science is beginning to catch up. More recently, in 2007, an extraordinary paper was published in the journal Child Development by Stanford social psychologist Carol Dweck. In her longitudinal study, Dr. Dweck proves that children's achievement is inextricably linked to their being taught that their intelligence is not locked in, that their brains can continue to grow, and that "talent" is largely a matter of confidence in their own brain plasticity. This notion that seems so new and surprising is, in fact, the foundation of a century of Montessori education, and it lies at the heart of everything we do at Adams International School.

Every day at AIS, the very Montessori principles that set countless children on the path to success -- among them, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and cookbook authors and food ambassadors Julia Child and Alice Waters -- are being put into practice on our peaceful and beautiful campus, a learning community that is designed to help children to discover the very best in themselves.

Suggested Reading

As parents choosing to give your children the unique opportunities of a Montessori education, you obviously are concerned about the quality of that experience and how you can enhance it.

One of the best and most fundamental ways to help is being as well informed as possible about the Montessori Method. Following is a list of recommended books by and about Montessori that should help in your self-education efforts.

These introductory books on Maria Montessori and Montessori education are compliments of the North American Montessori Teachers Association. Most of these books are available in area public or college libraries; if you have trouble getting a specific one or are interested in related magazine articles or merely have questions about where to begin, please contact the office.

Introductory Reading List (*Indicates particularly good introductory works)

  • *Chattin-McNichols, John (1991). The Montessori Controversy. Albany, NY: Delmar. Available from AMS.
  • Fisher, Dorothy Canfield (1965). Montessori for Parents.Cambridge, Mass.: R. Bentley.
  • Fisher, Dorothy Canfield (1966). The Montessori Manual for Teachers and Parents. Cambridge, Mass.: Robert Bentley.
  • * Hainstock, Elizabeth G. (1997) The Essential Montessori: an Introduction to the Woman, the Writings, the Method, and the Movement. New York, N.Y.: Plume.
  • * Hainstock, Elizabeth G. (1997).Teaching Montessori in the Home: the Pre-school Years. New York: Plume.
  • Lillard, Paula Polk. (1988).Montessori, a Modern Approach. New York, NY: Schocken.
  • Lillard, Paula P. (1996). Montessori Today. New York: Random House. Describes Montessori theory and contemporary American Montessori schools serving ages ranging from birth to adulthood.
  • *Lillard, Paula Polk., and Lynn Lillard Jessen (2003).Montessori from the Start: the Child at Home from Birth to Age Three. New York: Schocken. What parents can do to help their youngest children in the process of self-formation.
  • Montessori, Maria (1948). To Educate the Human Potential. Madras, India: Kalakshetra Publications. Describes the needs of the elementary-aged child in the process of acquiring culture.
  • Montessori, Maria (1949). The Absorbent Mind. Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House. Discusses the development of infants and young children from birth to three years. Gives a clear explanation of the basis of Montessori theory and method.
  • Montessori, Maria (1956). The Child in the Family. Chicago: Henry Regnery. A series of short essays about the child, the family, and the school, with a philosophical emphasis.
  • Montessori, Maria (1973). From Childhood to Adolescence. New York: Schocken. Discusses the development and education of the child from age seven through adolescence. Includes Dr. Montessori's thoughts on university education.
  • Standing, E. M. (1998). Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work. New York: Plume. Covers Maria Montessori's life, how she developed Montessori education, its theoretical basis, and the worldwide growth of the Montessori movement.

Advanced Reading List

The following books give more in-depth information about Montessori education.

  • Kramer, Rita. (1976). Maria Montessori: A Biography. New York: G.P. Putman's Sons.
  • Montessori, Maria. (1917). The Advanced Montessori Method (Vol. 1: Spontaneous Activity in Education; Vol. 2: The Montessori Elementary Material). New York: Frederick A. Stokes & Co. A collection of essays including both theory and practice at the elementary level.
  • Montessori, Maria. (1936). The Secret of Childhood. New York: Frederick A. Stokes and Co. An introduction, both practical and theoretical, including observations and insights into the nature of young children.
  • Montessori, Maria. (1943). Education and Peace. Chicago: Henry Regnery. Essays including lectures from the 6th International Montessori Congress in Copenhagen in 1937.
  • Montessori, Maria. (1946). Education for a New World. Madras, India: Kalakshetra Publications. A discussion of the role of education in a changing world.
  • Montessori, Maria. (1948). The Discovery of the Child. Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House. Early writings of Dr. Montessori highlighting the materials and the work of the child.
  • Montessori, Maria. (1955). The Formation of Man. (first published in the U.S. under the title Childhood Education) New York: New American Library. Dr. Montessori's approach to world literacy.
  • Montessori, Mario. (1966). The Human Tendencies and Montessori Education. Amsterdam: AMI. A classic essay on the imagination, the natural characteristics of the child, and the integration of human development and history.
  • Montessori Jr., Mario M. (1977). Education for Human Development: Understanding Montessori. New York: Schocken Books. The ideas of Montessori from a philosophical, psychological, and educational point of view. Foreword by Buckminster Fuller.
How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children.
— Charles Darwin