St Matthew's Montessori School

Montessori Method

Not just being a particular way of learning and development, more importantly Montessori principles are concerned with the development of the whole personality, seeing it as the foundation on which everything which follows will be built. Children are active learners and will learn from the environment if it offers appropriate stimuli to their development. Learning is guided by the children's developmental needs, and flourishes when the children are given time and space to observe, explore and investigate the environment and engage with it. Empathetic practitioners play an active part in engaging children with the favorable environment. They facilitate the child's need to learn, not only from them, but also from peers and by themselves.

The above was taken from the "Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage in Montessori Settings". This publication can be downloaded from

The Child

All growth must come from the actions of the children themselves. The Montessori method takes into account the sensitive periods of the child. The children are encouraged to refine their senses through working with the specifically designed materials, in groups, individually and with their teacher. The children are also encouraged to move freely around the classroom working on the mats, table, outside and selecting materials which capture their interest. Respect for others is reinforced throughout the day.

The Directress

A Montessori 'teacher' is called a Directress. This is because she aims to guide the children into constructive work and to direct them into acquiring both love for learning and self-motivation. Especially trained to observe, to respond to the needs of each child and to direct the whole group, they do not teach in the traditional sense, but rather guide each child forward. The Directress is not a powerful figure, but complements the children's environment by preparing it and helping them to care for it. She ensures that each member of the school community is respected, and shows individual children how to use the educational material most appropriate to their stage of development.

The Classroom

This room is a child-size world, with chairs, tables and shelves, in appropriate size. It is a unique feature of the 'prepared environment' that every object in the classroom has a specific place and purpose.