Course Parts

This course is divided into six parts:

  • PART 1: Why Montessori?

    This part discusses the advantages of Montessori education from the perspective of modern brain science. It also gives a little historical background about who Montessori was, the origins of her ideas, and what a truly remarkable woman she was.

  • PART 2: Key Concepts

    This part focuses on key concepts, including the four planes, sensitive periods, and how the three-year classroom works to promote freedom and independence. The interactive section has two short videos of actual 3-6 and 6-12 classrooms that bring these key concepts to life and allow the participant to take note of similarities and differences based on the previous information. It also has a short video that recreates the Piaget conservation task experiments to make the point that young children don’t understand cause and effect the same way adults do.

  • PART 3: Preparation of the Adult

    This is a longer part that focuses on the importance of observation and discusses various types and methods of observation. The interactive section has an activity that asks the participant to observe the same still life from four angles, noting differences in perspective gained. It also discusses the critical role of the assistant in supporting the lead teacher to do their job. Four types of teacher-student relationships are discussed (authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved and authoritative), with the last identified as the one most consistent with Montessori principles. An interactive activity follows that illustrates the difference between authoritarian and authoritative relationships by turning commands into curiosity questions. A model of the triune brain (developed by Dan Siegel) is given with another activity that discusses how self-regulation works. Mirror neurones are also discussed in relation to the importance of modelling, especially with regard to tone and appearance. The point is made that a child’s behaviour cannot be changed without identifying the belief that feeds the behaviour. The importance of the assistant’s attitude is discussed, with three cardinal rules identified as important for creating empowering relationships with children. This module concludes with another activity that illustrates the difference between encouragement and praise and the long-term effect of adults’ choice of words.



  • PART 4: Helping Children Stay Focused

    This is also a longer part that begins with a discussion of “flow” and concentration and the idea of “false fatigue”. The art of teaching in a Montessori environment is knowing when to intervene and when to hold back. Some archetypes of children who have difficulty getting into “flow” are given, along with suggestions on how to redirect them. The importance of validating children with language that is both kind AND firm is also discussed, and examples are given. The interactive section in this module has a role-play activity on empowering versus enabling statements that reinforces earlier emphases on the power of adult communication and modelling. Toileting is discussed with regard to early childhood environments, but there are aspects of this topic that are also relevant to the 6-12 assistant. The concept of mistakes as opportunities to learn is also emphasised here, with another interactive activity following the video. The role of the assistant in supporting circle or group time is also discussed. Finally, the importance of clear communication with the lead teacher is emphasised with strategies to keep channels open.

  • PART 5: Preparation of the Environment

    This part gives a brief overview of the areas of the Montessori environments, including practical life, sensorial, mathematics, cultural and language in both 3-6 and 6-12 classrooms. It is suggested that the assistant ask their lead teacher for lessons in the materials in the various areas if appropriate so that they might help children at the discretion of the lead teacher. Suggestions are offered for what assistants might do to help support the lead teacher in preparing each of these classroom areas.

  • PART 6: So What?

    This concluding part emphasises how essential the role of the assistant is to the proper functioning of any Montessori classroom at any level. Key supporting tasks for an assistant are reviewed. Finally, a definition of Montessori education and its core aspects are reviewed, and the difference these components can make in the lives of children as well as society in general is discussed. The module concludes by offering some further resources that the participants can pursue to further their understanding of the Montessori approach to human development.

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