Understanding the Montessori Approach: Early Years Education in Practice

Understanding the Montessori Approach: Early Years Education in Practice

Understanding the Montessori Approach: Early Years Education in Practice

Understanding the Montessori Approach: Early Years Education in Practice


Understanding the Montessori Approach is a much needed source of information for those wishing to extend and consolidate their understanding of the Montessori Approach and how it is used in the teaching and learning of young children. It will enable the reader to analyse the essential elements of this Approach to early childhood and and its relationship to quality early years practice.

Exploring all areas of the curriculum including the organisation of Montessori schools, the environment, learning and teaching and the outcomes for children this book:

  • focuses on the key principles of the Montessori approach;
  • explores ideas for working with parents and communities around the world;
  • includes a chapter on the benefits and challenges of the Montessori Approach to children's lives;
  • highlights the key ideas that practitioners should consider when reviewing and reflecting on their own practice;
  • can be used as the basis for continuing professional development and action research

Written to support the work of all those in the field of early years education and childcare, this is a vital text for students, early years and childcare practitioners, teachers, early years professionals, children's centre professionals, lecturers, advisory teachers, head teachers and setting managers.


We do not see him … as the helpless little creature lying with folded arms and
outstretched body, in his weakness. We see the figure of the child who stands
before us with his arms open, beckoning humanity to follow.

(Montessori 1992: 119)

Maria Montessori was one of the pioneers of early childhood education, and has made a significant contribution to our understanding of children. Her aim was to unfold the potential of each individual child. Her pedagogy recognises that young children are active learners, needing choice and independence, whilst being guided by a sensitive teacher who facilitates their learning by preparing an environment favourable to their development. The children who benefit from these experiences grow into confident adults, keen to continue to learn and curious about life and all it has to offer, whilst being respectful and considerate. In Montessori’s view, they become the heralds of social change.

This book is one in a series that focuses on a specific approach to early years education. Each volume highlights the ethos and values which underpin the pedagogy.

Some of the titles relate to specific and recent curricula and approaches such as the New Zealand Te Whāriki or the Forest Schools, whilst others have contributed to our understanding of early years care and education over a longer period of time beyond the early years, such as Steiner Waldorf and Montessori education. Like Steiner Waldorf’s, Montessori’s own view of education and pedagogy (Kramer 1976, Standing 1984) was influenced by the work of Rousseau, Pestallozi, Itard and Sequin. In turn, her work had an impact on her twentieth-century contemporaries such as Anna Freud, Susan Isaacs and the Macmillan sisters, who were also deeply engaged with children. An awareness of Montessori’s writing . . .

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