The Montessori Method is an educational system developed by Maria Montessori
designed to aid children in the development of intelligence and independence. Thousands of schools throughout the world use what is called the Montessori Method.
Montessori educators/teachers establish special environments to meet the needs of students. Students are broken down into three distinct age groups. Infancy to 2 1/2 years, 2 1/2 years to 6 1/2 years and 6 1/2 years through 12 years. The students learn through activities that involve exploration, manipulation, order, repetition, abstraction and communication.
It is the Montessori's belief that children from infancy through the age of six develop mentally through their senses. Subsequently, the educators/teachers encourage students in the first two age groups to use their senses of touch, sight, hearing smell and taste to explore and manipulate materials in their immediate environment. Children ages 6 through 12 can deal with abstract concepts based on their developed powers of reasoning, imagination, and creativity. They will also often combine both groups to work with one another in order to promote interactions. The groups are then asked to report on the interactions both orally (for the younger group) and in writing.
The Association of Montessori Internationale sets international standards for the education of Montessori teachers and teacher trainers and for the Montessori schools. In the U.S, the American Montessori Society also trains teachers and certifies schools.
My daughter, age 6, has been going to Montessori for approximately three years and is thriving in that environment. She has been exposed to such things as Spanish, French, sign language, Algebra, and Impressionism Art among others. While admittedly, the Montessori Method is not for all children - I am needless to say quite impressed and a staunch supporter of what the Montessori Method espouses.