We inspire and guide children to love learning, to love one another, and to love the world around them.

Montessori at MSNV

Love Learning: The Montessori Approach at MSNV

MSNV provides an inspiring learning environment filled with a variety of materials and activities which motivate students to realize their own unique abilities. The direct aim of Montessori lessons is to deepen the understanding of fundamental concepts. The indirect aim is to foster the love of learning.

5 FAQs on Montessori Education

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: What is Montessori?

    Montessori is a system of education started by Maria Montessori. Montessori believed that the goal of education should not be to fill a child with facts from a preselected course of study, but to cultivate his own natural desire to learn.
  • Q: Who was Maria Montessori?

    Dr. Montessori was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. She was a physician, an engineer, a social anthropologist and an educator. Through her work with children, Maria Montessori redefined the whole idea of education from passive role to active exploration.
  • Q: What are some characteristics of a Montessori classroom?

    Dr. Montessori believed that “education is a natural process” and that “it is not acquired by listening to words” but by “experience in which the child acts upon his environment.” The environment of the Montessori classroom is carefully prepared to allow for this natural process of education to occur. Some characteristics of the Montessori classroom are: • mixed age grouping • child chooses own work • child sets own learning pace • children encouraged to teach and help each other • teachers give individual or small group instruction • teachers serve as guides • allows for maximum freedom within responsible limits
  • Q: Is it for all children?

    The Montessori method is an “approach to learning” that has been successfully used with infants through children up to 18 years of age from all ability levels. The needs of each individual child must always be examined to determine if it is a good placement for the child.
  • Q: Are current theories and research in education included?

    Montessori is not a static system of education. It is as much a philosophy as it is a specific method. Montessori teachers remain active learners, utilizing a variety of resources including recent research and theory if it will enhance the environment created for the children.

Highlights of an MSNV classroom

List of 9 items.

  • Multi-disciplinary Montessori approach

    Dr. Maria Montessori noted that the development of motor skills is vital to acquiring basic language and mathematical concepts. From Preprimary through Elementary, MSNV’s multi-disciplinary Montessori approach integrates mind and body movements to enhance recall for the child’s developing brain. We encourage students to bring their own energy and intensity to the adventure of learning.
  • Access to outdoors

    All MSNV classrooms have direct access to outdoor spaces.Children explore and navigate natural terrain, which challenges their agility and sparks imaginative play.
  • Freedom of Movement

    Inside, classrooms are spacious and open. They are specifically designed to encourage curiosity and allow children to be active participants. Students move around the room with purpose as they choose their work and engage in individual or group lessons. Our classrooms are lively learning spaces.
  • Calm and Beautiful Learning Environment

    Particular attention is paid to beauty of arrangement and order of learning materials. There is an understanding of peace and mutual respect. The result is an atmosphere conducive to calmness and independent learning.
  • Self-paced Learning

    At MSNV, a child’s interest in learning is paramount. Students are supported and always given the opportunity to fully understand fundamental concepts. They practice lessons until their teachers are confident they have mastered a concept. The natural, comfortable assimilation of new information allows our students to take their time to observe and think critically.
  • Focused observation and personal interaction from teachers

    While learning is self-paced, it is not random. MSNV teachers practice focused observation of each child in order to learn about their personality, learning style and needs. They are then able to alter materials and individualize lessons accordingly to nurture each student’s natural curiosity and internal drive for learning.
  • Mixed age groups

    To further enhance the educational experience of our children, each classroom is composed of a constructive and mutually beneficial mix of older and younger students.
  • Three year cycle

    Through a three year cycle, students have the opportunity to acquire, practice and master skills and concepts to the point where they can teach these skills to their peers. This transformational process fills children with self-confidence and an opportunity to feel ownership of their MSNV journey.
  • Inspirational environment

    Peers are inspired and motivated to master skills as well. No matter how much the interests or abilities of students may differ, their practice of observing and teaching one another is critical to their social, emotional and intellectual development.

Operating Principles

In carrying out the mission of MSNV, our efforts directly benefit the development of the child’s mind, body and spirit. Families engage with faculty and staff and build a community spirit by sharing the work, planning and governance of MSNV, as guided by these MSNV Operating Principles:

  • Create an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding and mutual respect.
  • Recognize the unique learning styles of each child and choose instructional approaches compatible with individual needs.
  • Create an environment in which children are encouraged to develop positive feelings about themselves and others and approach learning in a non-competitive way.
  • Nurture the child’s love of learning.
  • Embrace the fundamental principles of Montessori. MSNV’s curriculum includes complementary materials and techniques as well as music, the arts, foreign language and community resources.
  • Foster natural independence, creativity, self-direction and personal responsibility and allow exploration sparked by intellectual curiosity.
  • Encourage children to develop an understanding of the interrelatedness of mankind and to care about other people and our Planet Earth.
  • Attract and retain professional educators devoted to carrying out the mission of MSNV.
  • Maintain a safe, carefully planned physical environment that is peaceful, pleasant, child-centered and attractive.
  • Look to the future and make decisions and plans with a long-range view.
  • Seek actively and welcome families of all cultures, religions, races and ethnic groups, and encourage the sharing of customs, heritage and perspectives.
  • Build positive relationships with the surrounding communities through active participation, education and support.
  • Provide quality education, capable management and responsible service to parents and children.
"And such is our duty toward the child — to give a ray of light and to go on our way."
– Maria Montessori

Who was Maria Montessori?

List of 1 items.

  • Maria Montessori was, in many ways, ahead of her time.

    Born in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy in 1870, she became one of the first female physicians in Italy upon her graduation from medical school in 1896. Shortly afterward, she was chosen to represent Italy at two different women’s conferences, in Berlin in 1896 and in London in 1900. In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn and she concluded that they build themselves from what they find in their environment. Shifting her focus from the body to the mind, she returned to the university in 1901, this time to study psychology and philosophy. In 1904, she was made a professor of anthropology at the University of Rome. Her desire to help children was so strong, however, that in 1906 she gave up both her university chair and her medical practice to work with a group of sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was there that she founded the first Casa dei Bambini, or “Children’s House.” What ultimately became the Montessori method of education developed there, based upon Montessori’s scientific observations of these children’s almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every method Montessori developed was based on what she observed children do “naturally,” by themselves, unassisted by adults.
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