In a Montessori environment, there is a Guide who, with their assistant, observes and supports the child in their quest for independence and concentration in orderly and beautiful outdoor and indoor spaces. This occurs through the child’s connection and work with the Montessori materials, care of the environment, care of the self, and care for others. Children have worked in Montessori classrooms in this way for over 100 years. They are still drawn to the work today.
Through Maria Montessori’s endless hours of observation and work with children she discovered the core essence of a child’s development and their natural desire to construct the self through work, a natural desire for order, and a desire to repeat until mastery. These are all innate qualities children possess. It is only through obstacles, Montessori discovered, put in the child’s way by an adult, that can hinder these natural human tendencies.
Having mixed ages (16 months to 33 months in the Toddler Community, 3-6 years old in the Children’s House, 6-9 in Lower Elementary, and so on) is another unique and very important aspect of a Montessori classroom. With the mixed ages, older children can enjoy being mentors and leaders for the younger children, giving them presentations and teaching new children the guidelines. The younger children feel supported by the older children and are enthusiastic to participate in the work they observe them doing.