The Montessori Method – Building a Strong Sense of Community

How is a Montessori community different from traditional classrooms? One of the first things you will notice when you walk into a Montessori school is the classrooms are multi-age. The classrooms are generally divided into three year groupings. The multi-age classroom is fundamental to the Montessori method. So why are there multi-age classrooms and what are the benefits?

In a Montessori setting, students typically remain with a single teacher for three years.  The teacher is able to understand and appreciate a child’s learning patterns and interests. Just as importantly, children come to know the other members of their class on a deep and personal basis. This forms tight bonds and helps foster a sense of collaboration that is at the heart of the Montessori experience. These relationships between students encourage group work and learning, problem solving and sharing.

Respect is emphasized within this community — children are discouraged from raising their voices or using hurtful behavior. Considerate, courteous manners and a willingness to help are celebrated. Montessori students are encouraged to care for their community. They help keep the classroom tidy and well organized, they make sure the outdoor spaces around the school are litter-free, they water plants and care for pets in the classroom.

By teaching community stewardship skills early, children will mature to become good stewards of their own wider communities. A multi-age Montessori environment has proven to offer many benefits including:

  • Opportunities for peer observation and role modeling.
  • Developing leadership skills.
  • Building confidence.
  • Encouraging diversity and acceptance.
  • Creating a deeper sense of community.
  • Encouraging child-initiated learning and independent thinking.
  • Creating more stable, consistent environments where children feel safe to learn and explore new things.

More in this series:

12 Ways Montessori Schools Are Different From Traditional Schools