what we believe
Montessori schools, like other communities, often reflect the personalities and preferences of the people who comprise them. While there is no one way to implement Montessori, there are some key presumptions Montessorians make about children that help to inform the environments we design:
We believe that children are intrinsically good. Unlike “blank slate” models, Montessori presumes that the natural state of children is positive, that children will do the right thing if given the opportunity, and that when children’s behavior is less positive, it reflects some obstacle to the child’s natural state.
We believe children are intrinsically peaceful. Montessori classrooms are often notable of their peaceful, gentle climate, within which children of differing ages and development seem to interact with each other with less conflict and more joy. We believe this is the natural condition of childhood so, when conflicts do occur, we look to the physical design of the classroom, the developmental differences between children, or the choices of the teacher to resolve.
We believe children are intrinsically motivated to learn. Montessori shies away from traditional models of punishment and reward, believing that children’s motivation to learn is natural to them and continues to blossom in environments that allow authentic learning.
Because we believe children to be intrinsically good, intrinsically peaceful and intrinsically motivated to learn, we look first to ourselves as the primary stewards of the classroom environment when challenges occur. We ask what we might do differently as adults to return the children to their natural state, rather than punishing or labeling children as problems to be solved.