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What Is Montessori?

Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori.  In 1907 Maria Montessori opened her first classroom, the Casa dei Bambini or Children’s house, in a tenement building in Rome.  From the beginning, Montessori based her work on her observations of children and experimentation with the environment, materials, and lessons available to them.  Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 20,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to eighteen years old.


Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits and respect for a child’s natural psychological development.  The Association Montessori International cites the following elements as essential:

  • mixed-age classrooms

  • student choice of activity from within a prescribed range options

  • uninterrupted blocks of work time

  • a constructivism or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials rather than by direct instruction

  • specialized educational materials

The Montessori approach is based on the natural laws of human development.  Maria Montessori observed that children under six absorb limitlessly and effortlessly from the world around them and in so doing lay down all the foundations for later in life.


The mixed age group allows the children to develop socially, intellectually and emotionally.  It is an essential part of any Montessori school, and it is the Montessori culture that we adopt in our school, this is one of the most important reasons why Little Valley Montessori is one of the best Montessori preschools and daycares in Richmond Hill.

In a Montessori school, the child is guided by a trained adult who will show them how to do the things they are ready for.  Later they can work with the materials independently

Recommended Readings

 By Dr. Maria Montessori

"​The Montessori Method​"

"The Secret of Childhood"

"The Absorbent Mind"

"​The Discovery of the Child"

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