"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words, but by experience in the environment." - Maria Montessori
Montessori Approach to Education
The programs and practices of the Xavier University Montessori Lab School are founded on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, a pioneer educator, physician, and scientist, of child development. Working in the first half of the 20th century, Dr. Montessori underscored the importance of children’s early experiences. She developed a philosophy and approach to education, which aims to develop each child’s full range of abilities and talents while simultaneously celebrating his or her uniqueness and cultural background. The goal of Montessori education is the development of autonomous and competent, caring and empathic, responsive and responsible humans who are lifelong learners, responsible community members, and problem solvers.
The philosophy of Montessori education is founded on respect and reverence of and for the child. This method of education nurtures and cultivates the unique qualities each child possesses through engaging, meaningful, multi sensory lessons, activities, and materials. Embedded in Montessori our teaching practices is inquiry, wonderment, discovery, and joy; children are engaged learners constructing their knowledge and applying it in their lives.
Specific educational practices common to Montessori programs include multi-age groupings, beautiful and carefully designed learning environments, emphasis on teacher observation and research, a focus on the development of the “whole child,” child selection of materials from within an appropriate range, and consistent social and behavioral guidelines and expectations.
In all aspects of learning, children move at their own pace, repeating activities until a sense of inner mastery moves them on to the next level of difficulty. A rich array of hands-on materials is offered, engaging the child in learning on many levels. Teachers prepare the learning environment, provide lessons to individuals and small groups, and diligently observe each child’s progress, assessing skill, understanding, and readiness for new challenges.
The American Montessori Society (AMS) has been the mainstay for Montessori education in the US since its inception in 1960. AMS has created national standards to help ensure the integrity of Montessori education; as an organization, it is helping to incorporate the Montessori approach into the framework of American education. The Xavier University Montessori Lab School has been a fully affiliated School member of AMS since 1968. As a part of this membership, we are regularly visited and evaluated by professional Montessori consultants.