Key characteristics of the Montessori classroom

Children are grouped in classes of mixed ages and abilities. Younger children look to the older ones in the class for guidance. Older children become role models, often found teaching the younger children, thus reinforcing and consolidating their own learning.

MontessoriĀ Guides are trained to teach children one at a time or in small groups. Children are used to working independently. The teacher is therefore able to manage large class of students at once.

Children's confidence grows as they work through tasks that build on each other. A carefully planned series of successes ensures that the child believes he can learn by himself.

At any given time, different children will be studying any number of different areas, at varying degrees of complexity. All subjects are interwoven, not taught in isolation.

Children are free to move around the room rather than remain at allocated desks.

Children are able to work on any material they understand at any time, moving on when ready. With the exception of national testing and grading, there is no need for frequent assessing and testing. The teacher always maintains comprehensive records of each child's development and progress.

Both adults and children respect concentration and do not interrupt those who are busy at work. The children will follow a three-hour work cycle in the morning to develop powers of concentration and minimise interruptions.