About Montessori Education

ciana-and-amaliaThe Montessori approach combines the opportunity for each child to move forward pursuing his or her interests and talents while at the same time teachers work with students to guide them to step beyond the familiar and explore the new and more challenging.  This is a powerful combination.  It is one of the reasons why our students retain their natural inquisitiveness, high skill level, and love of learning.  A Montessori education is a lifelong gift.

The Montessori method includes these unique aspects of Montessori education:

  • respect for the individual
  • student-centered approach
  • multiage classrooms (ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-14)
  • the prepared environment
  • student choice of activity from the teacher-prepared range of options
  • specialized manipulative materials which promote learning through discovery
  • uninterrupted blocks of work time
  • individual, small group, and large group lessons
  • freedom to move within the classroom
  • specially trained and highly skilled Montessori teachers

Our school is accredited by the American Montessori Society.  Please visit the Family Resource section of their website which includes a glossary of terminology, “Montessori at Home” tips and so much more.  <www.amshq.org>


What we teach at each developmental level is based on the scientific research of Dr. Maria Montessori add: and informed since by 100 years plus of extensive neuro-science and educational research. Human development follows predetermined paths, therefore Montessori curriculum is based on the phases of children’s growth.  Matching lessons to the precise developmental level at which the child is primed to receive them results in smoother skill acquisition and joyous learning.

Dr. Montessori called these developmental levels the “Planes of Development.” They can be described as follows:

6First Plane (birth-age 6): development of self, sensitive periods when skills are easiest learned

Second Plane (ages 6-12): intellectual period, sense of morality and justice, development of reasoning skills

Third Plane (ages 12-18): adolescence, similar to first plane, formation of self

Fourth Plane (ages 18-24): experiences that expand human potential, role in society

A Timeline of One Hundred Years of Montessori Education

Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori

1896 •  Maria Montessori became the first woman medical doctor in Italy.
She worked as a medical and surgical assistant in Rome as well as working at women’s and children’s hospitals. Her work as a doctor and scientist provided the basis for her observations of child development and their stages of learning.

1907 • The first Children’s House was opened in Rome.
The school began as a daycare for the children of factory workers. Maria Montessori ran the center herself for two years.

1909 • Maria Montessori held the first teacher training, accrediting one hundred teachers.
There she wrote her first book, The Montessori Method.  In the years to follow it was translated into more than twenty languages.

1913 •  The Montessori Educational Association was founded in the United States.
Its membership included Alexander Graham Bell, his wife Mabel Bell,  S.S. McClure and President Wilson’s daughter, Margaret Woodrow Wilson.  In addition, the first international training course was held in Rome with teachers from America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia as Montessori Education spread worldwide.   Montessori’ wrote her third book, which was about her methods with elementary school children.


1926 • Maria Montessori gave an important talk to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, titled “Education and Peace.”

1931 •  Ghandi visited Montessori schools in Rome.

1939  •  Maria Montessori ran a training course in India where she worked for seven years due to world events

1949, 1950, 1951 •  Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

1959  • Mario Montessori, Maria’s son, appointed Dr. Nancy Rambusch to start Montessori Schools in the United States.
The result was the American Montessori Society being founded in Connecticut in 1960.

1976 • The Montessori School of Northampton, originally called The
Children’s House, was established by Sylvia Kriebel. The school was then
located at 321 Locust Street in Florence.

1986 • MSN moved to 51 Bates Street in Northampton and began
operating as a nonprofit corporation governed by a Board of Trustees
composed of parents and community members.

1993 • The Elementary program was added, providing students and
families with the option to continue learning and growing within the
Montessori framework.

2010 • MSN acquired property diagonal to the school for physical activities,
events and possible expansion.

2013 • MSN added a portable classroom to the campus for our
Elementary, After School and Arts programs.

2016 • MSN expanded our programs to include toddlers and opened
the first independent Middle School in Northampton in a new upper
school building.

Peace Education

“Avoiding war is the work of politics, establishing peace is the work of education.”

– Dr. Maria Montessori

13-14_LE_0103Maria Montessori was a pioneer in developing, with her son Mario, a curriculum for peace education. She looked upon schools as a place where we had the opportunity to change the fear that people can have of each other to an understanding of how much we are alike. Work with the youngest children begins with respecting themselves and those around them. At the Elementary level, the Great Lessons and “fundamental needs of people” work illustrate profoundly what is common among us. Adolescents at the Middle School level engage in academic research and discourse as well as working directly in the surrounding communities to deepen their understanding of the human condition and their power to influence it.

Another aspect of Peace Education is the study of peacemakers and the general study of what “peace” really means. This can take many forms such as biographical research on world figures such as Mahatma Ghandi, Anne Frank or Ralph Waldo Emerson, reflection and creation of personal peace statements, and consideration of literature such as Leo Tolstoy’s Three Questions. Whatever the form of the activity, Montessori education recognizes that children love to consider large, engaging and important life questions.

For her work, Maria Montessori was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The Science of Peace, were it to become a special discipline, would be the most noble of all, for the very like of humanity depends on it. So, also perhaps, does the question of whether our entire civilization evolves or disappears.”

— Dr. Maria Montessori
Address to the League of Nations, Geneva, Switzerland



“Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.”

–Dr. Maria Montessori

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