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What is a Montessori Education?



The standards of education have been declining here in Canada (and in fact all around the world) for many years, even before the recent pandemic accelerated this trend. A great many students are now entering university unable to write without serious grammar and spelling mistakes, or unable to do simple math – dysfunctions that would have barred them from higher education fifty years ago. In fact, it would seem that a university degree of today may be equivalent to the high-school diploma of our grandparents.

Trying to envision what a proper education would look like, when one has possibly received a sub-standard education himself, is extremely difficult or impossible without taking a wider view. It can only be done by researching the history of education to know what has been achieved in the past, and by researching and testing the best educational practices. By applying these and getting results, experience will bring one to a point of knowing what can be achieved with a proper education.


At Alive Montessori, we are using the educational methodology developed by Maria Montessori because it has a proven track record of achieving much better results than other methods. For example, 3 and 4 year-olds typically learn to read and write and do simple math – skills normally expected two or three years later in the public school system.

Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870 and continued her work in education up until her death in 1952. Ahead of her time, she was the first woman in Italian history to earn a medical doctor’s degree. After practicing medicine for only a few years, she embarked on the career path for which she would become famous – as an enlightened educator for young children.

She was convinced that the conventional methodology of schooling left much to be desired and developed her own educational system with carefully structured and stimulating materials and activities.

Dr. Montessori held the firm belief that the best time to teach reading and writing was between the ages of four and six, well below the expected norm in our public school system. She further discovered that children must re-create whatever it is that they are learning in order to understand it, and for this reason, she taught these vital skills in the reverse order from our usual educational standard – writing, and then reading.

From a humble start in a single room teaching poor children using her educational ideas, the Montessori method of education has spread throughout much of the world for the simple reason that it produces results.


Anyone who has raised a child knows that children have an insatiable curiosity and desire to learn. Too often, the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional schooling blunts this natural desire in a child. Forcing a child to learn or slowing him down will never produce the results hoped for. The Montessori system encourages the child to find his own interests and allows him to progress at his own speed – this keeps his natural curiosity and love of learning intact.

A Montessori school has mixed age classrooms; this is a deliberate choice as it is expected that the older children will help the younger ones, thereby developing their leadership skills and sense of community. The younger ones also have an incentive to catch up to the more advanced material that the older ones are learning.

Maria Montessori designed her materials to allow the children to discover, learn and develop using all their senses. Sandpaper letters and numbers, geometric shapes to manipulate, wooden blocks and beads for adding and multiplying, and so much more make things real for the child. Most parents are amazed when they first see the richness of materials in a Montessori classroom; it is certainly different from the typical classroom in our public schools.

The Montessori teacher, technically known as a “Directress”, does not stand at the front of the classroom giving instruction; she will be going from child to child giving unparalleled individual attention that keeps the child progressing quickly and interested in learning.

As a parent, there is no better gift you can give your child than a solid education that gives him or her the skills and confidence to be a success in life. A Montessori education may be worth exploring.