50 Ways to Keep the Montessori Spirit Alive in Your Classroom

Whether you turn the tray at the end of a lesson, go from right to left or left to right, are AMS-trained, or AMI-trained - there are many foundational elements of Montessori philosophy we can all agree on. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the minutiae - remember the essentials. Below are 50 ways to keep the Montessori spirit alive in your classroom.

  1. Do things with the child, not for them

  2. Model the behavior you’d like to see

  3. Use fewer words - guide with actions

  4. Practice grace and courtesy with the adults and children in your classroom

  5. Move precisely and with purpose

  6. Follow the child’s interest to spark and maintain curiosity

  7. Accept that every child moves at their own pace

  8. Prepare the classroom so every child can be as independent as possible

  9. Embrace simplicity

  10. Own up to your mistakes and apologize if necessary when you’ve made one

  11. Respect the child

  12. Coach the child in acknowledging and managing their emotions - this is a learned skill

  13. Protect all forms of concentration once they begin

  14. Remember it’s okay not to be perfect! It’s important to model this for your children

  15. Be kind and firm - children need love and limits

  16. Trust that the materials are self-correcting - any interference from an adult is potentially a missed opportunity for the child to conduct his own experimentation and learning

  17. Evaluate if you are in constant need of being in control - and let go of it

  18. Have a sense of humor!

  19. Give effort-based praise

  20. Trust in the absorbent mind and sensitive periods

  21. Incorporate the outdoors and nature whenever possible

  22. Encourage curiosity and exploration

  23. Provide hands-on, concrete opportunities for learning

  24. Practice Practical Life activities again and again and again!

  25. Promote peer problem solving and don’t interfere unless absolutely necessary once it begins

  26. Leave the working child unless they are hurting themselves, hurting someone else, or damaging a material

  27. Keep an ordered environment

  28. Associate movement and learning as much as possible

  29. Give children the time necessary to complete a task

  30. Observe the child - what are they interested in? Where do they need encouragement?

  31. Allow yourself to be in awe of the natural instinct each child has to learn and grow

  32. Remark on exciting things in nature and allow yourself to be amazed when a child points something out to you

  33. Model self control and mindfulness

  34. Help the child take control of their learning by answering questions with questions - “What do you think the answer is?” so they are encouraged to trust their instinct or explore and experiment to find the answer

  35. Be an active listener

  36. Speak to the child on his level

  37. Provide feeling words whenever possible

  38. Prepare the room with child sized furnishings and all materials within their reach

  39. Use proper terminology for body parts, bodily functions, names, etc.

  40. Create an atmosphere where mistakes are acceptable and part of the learning process

  41. Accept the child for who they are - it is our obligation to see the light in each child even when their behavior is challenging

  42. Partner with parents as much as and whenever possible. The child is the one that benefits when we do so

  43. Do not seek to change or affect or modify or improve any other human - observe and accept the one that exists and prepare the environment to stimulate their continued engagement

  44. Pause long enough to recognize the difference between a child wandering and a child who is seeking a momentary break in between lessons

  45. Accept false fatigue as a natural occurrence and stay calm

  46. Be grateful in the gift you have been given to share in the lives of the children in your class

  47. Create opportunities for children to be active participants in the care of their environment

  48. Surround yourself with other people who seem to understand how to speak with children - the ones who see the magic. Talk to the teachers who stay.

  49. Find companionship in expertise and expertise in time.

  50. Above all - remember “Of all things - love is the most potent.” No child can learn before they know they are loved and safe in your presence.