Maria Montessori’s belief and resulting philosophy was that the best person to teach the individual child is the child himself. Consequently, within the class the directress (teacher) is seen as a friendly helper, ready to offer guidance and encouragement, not as an authority figure to be obeyed. Because the class is not teacher-centered, guidance takes place on a one-to-one basis or in very small groups, and is related to the child’s own stage of development and readiness.
The directress guides the child in the use of the Montessori materials, which are attractive, experiential, manipulative and self-correcting.
The children’s environment is presented in a child-sized format with materials and exercises designed to stimulate independent exploration. This prepared environment encourages the child to proceed at his own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. Through this natural progression, the child satisfies his curiosity and experiences the joy of discovering the surrounding world.