Montessori - Guiding Principles

Video Series explaining the SAMA 6 Guiding Principles

Principle 1: Multi Age Classrooms

Classes in Montessori Schools are mixed-age and non-graded.

  • Mixed-age classes comprise at least three-year groupings corresponding to the Planes of Development: 3 – 6; 6 – 9 and 9 – 12 or 6 – 12; 12 – 15 and 15 – 18 or 12 – 18.
  • Mixed-age groups are not correlated to grades, nor are they divided in other ways according to achievement levels or normative standards.

The 0-3 sub-plane is divided as follows:

  • Infant (Nido) groups: Approximately 3 months (or older) to when the child is walking well (about 12 – 18 months); and
  • Toddler Communities: From when the child is walking well (about 12 – 18 months) to about 2½ or 3 years.

Principle 2: The Uninterrupted Workcycle

Montessori schools accommodate an extended period of uninterrupted self-chosen activity – a period during which children can choose their own activity within a predetermined, appropriate range of activities and work undisturbed for a minimum of three hours.

Principle 3: No Rewards or Punishments

Rewards such as treats or stars and stickers and Punishments such as shaming or “naughty corner” are not used in a Montessori environment. Ample recognition for positive outcomes and redirection of negative outcomes are used to guide behaviour.

Principle 4: The Prepared Environment

A prepared environment is a critical component of Montessori Pedagogy. The prepared environment

  • Serves the developmental and pedagogical needs of the children using it;
  • Supports freedom of movement, speech and association;
  • Supports free choice of activity;
  • Facilitates normalization (3-6), adaptation (6-12) and valorisation (12 – 18);
  • Includes a full range of Montessori materials appropriate to the age for which it is prepared.

Principle 5: The Montessori Guide

The adults in the Montessori environment exhibit and apply the principles of Montessori pedagogy through

  • A disposition of respect and patience towards the child;
  • An ability to balance the principle of non-intervention while at the same time not abandoning the child;
  • Trust in Montessori principles, methodology and pedagogical aims;
  • Seeing the role of the adult as primarily observer, scientist and interpreter of the environment rather than as a teacher in the conventional sense;
  • Guiding the child to normalization and development appropriate to each Plane of Development.

Principle 6: The Montessori Curriculum

Montessori schools implement the SAMA Montessori curriculum for ages 0-12.