Toddlers aren't typically allowed to experiment with real glasses, but in a Montessori classroom there is an entire Practical Life area where children can develop their concentration and hand-eye coordination through real life work, including using actual glasses and kitchen tools. This young child is extremely proud of his ability to hold the pitchers correctly and carefully pour the water back and forth. This video was taken in a Parent-Child class free for families attending a neighborhood public school.


Because young children explore much of their world with their hands, almost every material in a Montessori classroom is designed to strengthen and engage a child's hands. Stringing beads gives the child a chance to repeat a task over and over again until she can do it without effort. The way the string and beads have to be held prepares the child's fingers to hold a pencil. You can see that this young girl, who is 2.5, is fully enjoying her work.


In a Montessori classroom, children often become interested in writing first, and there are many tools for them to develop their writing skills early. In this video, the child traces a Sandpaper Numeral and then writes that number in the sand tray. You can see how he is able to connect with the concept through two very sensory activities. Also notice how he checks himself by looking back at the Sandpaper Numeral while he is writing.


Most learning in a Montessori class uses the child's hands! These numerals and counters help develop the child's attention span and teach the number of objects associated with each numeral. If you notice, the counters are placed in a specific way so that even numbers form a rectangle and odd numbers have a "dangling" counter. This is an early and secretive way to teach even and odd numbers. Usually, the child notices the difference in these numbers and the teacher doesn't even have to teach the concept!


One area of Montessori classrooms contain sensorial materials that allow children to explore concepts like length, weight, smell, and sound. These knobless cylinders can be arranged in a variety of ways, progressively more intricately as the children get older. In this photo, the child is learning about pattern, diameter, and height. At the same time, he is gaining a sense of focus and accomplishment.




Love for learning: Children are free to explore topics that interest them and learn at their own pace. The Montessori teacher’s job is to guide children as they learn to use these materials. The hands-on materials keep little hands and minds engaged.

Independence: In a Montessori classroom children quickly learn to accomplish many “grown-up” tasks like cutting up vegetables for a snack, putting on their own coats, and pouring their own glasses of water.

Movement: Children can choose where they would like to learn. They can spread out on the floor or pull a chair over to a secluded corner. In many Montessori classrooms, children can take their work outside. Children learn to move their bodies carefully and with precision as they take care of the materials and their classroom.

Peaceful relationships: Peace is emphasized continually in Montessori classrooms. Becoming peaceful people means showing respect for other children who are working as well as learning about the diverse world we live in.

Self-motivation and self-control: Because children are free to select their own work, they are motivated by their own desires. Montessori children are known for their willingness to work at school and at home.

Appreciation of nature: Outside exploration is essential to the Montessori classroom. Children learn about their world through hands-on experiences in a garden and through materials that introduce topics ranging from types of leaves to landforms.

Pride in one’s accomplishments: In a Montessori classroom, the reward is the experience of doing something new. As students learn more and more, they will be introduced to new and more challenging materials. They are not working to earn a grade; they are working to accomplish a task with their own two hands.