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Montessori Education

Facilitating Discovery Through Play

Children are compelled by their curiosity to seek out, explore and master that which interests them. By supporting them, the Montessori teacher facilitates creativity, innovation, problem solving and “joy” within the child.


INNOVATION → Problem Solving Skills

While the “play” that children engage in may appear simple, there is great meaning in it. This is their work. Mastery occurs when a child stumbles on a problem he cannot solve. Each avenue he explores to solve it—encourages brain pathways and innovative means of getting it to work. This is why guiding the child to discover on his own is of such importance to his/her development.

Pathway Montessori Skip counting 2

INDEPENDENCE → Self Confidence

When a child asks for help—help them. When a child says “I can do it,” let them. A famous quote by Dr. Montessori was based on the profound benefits she witnessed firsthand over many years of teaching: “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” Not only does independence aid in learning, it is vital to self esteem, self reliance, and self confidence.


TOP THINKERS OF OUR AGE → Montessori Schooled

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, credit their success to a Montessori education, as it instilled within them the ability to be self-directed, self-starters. The role of a Montessori teacher is to use innovative teaching tools which promote natural discovery and expertise. By honouring the natural inclinations of the child; true passion and love for their work […]

Engaged in Learning

Inside the BCMA Montessori Conference

Nancy Graham, owner of Pathway Montessori schools, attends several Montessori conferences each year. It is a means of sharing ideas, networking with other teachers and strengthening ties within the community.

Keynote Speaker

At this years BCMA (British Columbia Montessori Association) conference, Nancy had the opportunity to converse one-on-one with the keynote speaker, Eduardo Cuevas, a world-class speaker and trainer in Montessori Methods. His primary message? It is much more powerful for children to be concentrated instead of just occupied. A calming of the child occurs after a child has worked with a Montessori material that fully engages their interest in a concentrated manner. Teachers were reminded to mindfully observe and follow the child as opposed to arbitrarily telling them to pick a project.

The 3 i’s of Learning

As a Montessori Directress, Nancy has observed first hand, how engagement is key to learning. She calls this effect the 3 i’s of learning: an INQUISITIVE nature, an INTEREST in the materials and the INDEPENDENCE to explore. Supporting a child’s natural curiosity and allowing them to work things out themselves, leads to confidence, enhanced problem solving skills and innovative thinking. Children experience the present-day joy of discovery, while setting the groundwork for future success.

The Montessori Conference in Pictures


About Eduardo Cuevas:

Eduardo Cuevas is the Director of Training at the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has lectured extensively at Universities around the world on the Montessori method.

About Nancy Graham:

Nancy is owner of Pathway Montessori schools in Calgary, AB and Fort Langely BC. She continues to act as a Montessori directress at one of the schools and believes that teachers […]

Five Areas of the Montessori Classroom

Maria Montessori found that next to learning from their own experience, the child learns best from other children. Therefore she created a mixed age group where the younger children imitate older and older children reinforce leadership skills by sharing their knowledge with the younger children. Each classroom is scaled down to a child’s size and provides an enriching and stimulating environment.

Each classroom is comprised of the following five areas of learning:

1) Practical Life

These activities comprise of care of the person, caring for the environment and lessons in grace and courtesy.  These exercises include activities such as pouring, sorting, sewing buttons, carrot peeling, serving, mirror polishing and many other activities using real life objects in a child sized environment.  These activities encourage good work habits, increase concentration, independence, and develop coordination.  The Practical life activities prepare the child for all other subject areas of the classroom.

2) Sensorial

It is through the five senses that the sensorial materials prepare the child to sharpen their abilities in learning reading, writing and mathematics.  For example the child who has perceived the subtle differences of sounds in the sound cylinders will be more likely to perceive subtle differences in the phonetic sounds of letters.  The grasping of small knobs on equipment enables a child to gain control over the small finger muscles he will use for writing.   Using the senses to explore the diverse materials designed using variable dimension, color, shape, texture and smell, develops all faculties of intelligence.

3) Language

Language is explored phonetically in a Montessori classroom.  Initial alphabet sounds are first introduced through the sandpaper letters and matching objects.  After the children learn a few sounds, they are then introduced to blending exercises with the moveable alphabet.  […]

Learning by Discovery

by Leslie Christianson-Kellow
for Neighbours Preschool

The first time Shari Couture volunteered in her older son’s class, she couldn’t believe what she saw.

The children were ”working” around the classroom, obviously engaged in their tasks. At a specific time, a group of children stopped what they were doing, tidied up their “work” and readied themselves for snack time.

Couture watched as the children each got their snack, ate in a timely fashion and then proceeded to clean up after themselves, including washing their own utensils. The amazing thing was that it all occurred without the teacher prompting or reminding them.

“When I saw them doing all of that on their own, I was like there’s no way my son is going to be able to do all that. He’s only five years old,” remembers Couture.

Three years later, she now has a child in preschool and a child in Grade 2, both following the Montessori method of learning. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Couture says her children are thriving and becoming a self-reliant individuals.

“They’re learning by discovery. Instead of being shovelled information that they might not understand, they discover main concepts and work with those concepts until they understand and grasp them.”

For example, says Couture, “When learning math, it’s very hands on.”

While working with materials like beads, young children might learn about multiplication tables, manipulating and exploring until they truly grasp the basic concept of the numbers.

“My son really gets what 10 times 10 is,” says Couture.

Who was Montessori? Maria Montessori is Italy’s first female doctor.

In the late 1800s she theorized that children displayed key windows of opportunity for learning, especially from birth to six years.

Using observation and guidance, she developed specific teaching methods that helped children become […]