Why Montessori?

What Parents Want

Most parents want a school that will help their children acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be successful adults, and that does so in an environment that nurtures and respects each child’s natural curiosity and unfolding personality.

Parents of young children who visit a Montessori school are quickly drawn to an environment and process of educating young children that feels intuitively comfortable and right. They see classrooms that are thoughtfully prepared to bring school routines to a cozy, home-like atmosphere. They see very young children working independently with manipulative objects to learn to read and understand mathematics. They see Montessori teachers artfully bridging the home – school experience. All of this is central to the Montessori Method, and the result is a successful first-school experience for children and their parents.

This experience continues as children progress through the school. The elementary and middle school programs build upon the early childhood experience to provide a pathway to college, career, and living a prosperous life. The curriculum evolves from level to level, with the individual threads woven into a rich, interdisciplinary tapestry.

The upper school program prepares students academically, but also socially and emotionally so they develop a strong sense of integrity, character and social justice. Parents see upper school students who are confident and at ease with themselves, who ask inquisitive questions and are able to draw connections and to think critically. Montessori students actively engage with adults and each other; they are able to manage time, work productively, and contribute to the community. They possess respect and responsibility.

Why Parents Choose Montessori

More and more parents are turning to the Montessori Method of education because it meets their expectations of a school. They appreciate the small class size that fosters close relationships with teachers over a three-year cycle. They see teachers who are participatory in the learning, conducting lessons in small group or individual format that affords an exchange of ideas and hands-on learning. They see Montessori students who love going to school because they are actively engaged not only in the rigorous curriculum, but in the life of the school – planning their own field trips, writing skits about sustainability, managing the weather station, leading classroom morning meetings and school assemblies. This process of teaching and learning is often what attracts parents to Montessori, but it is the product of our program that is most compelling – the compassionate, articulate, intellectually curious graduate.

Montessori alumni are a dynamic and diverse group. Although they have taken many different paths from this little campus, they remain intrinsically connected by their respective sense of purpose, innovation and drive.

Authentic Montessori Education

The world is finally catching on to something a woman named Dr. Maria Montessori designed more than 100 years ago, an educational philosophy and pedagogy that meets the needs of the 21st century. Today, Montessori is a household name, but the hallmarks of Montessori are not always as well understood.

Allow us to illustrate what makes for an authentic Montessori education:
  • The goal of Montessori education is to help each individual reach his/her full potential in all areas of life
  • The prepared environment sets the stage for the developmental curriculum to unfold at each level
  • Students are grouped in multi-age classrooms, where they spend a three-year cycle: ages 1-3; 3-6; 6-9; 9-12; 12-14
  • Teachers who are specifically educated (credentialed) apply the Montessori method in the classroom, using the didactic materials and lessons in an integrated, developmental approach
  • A full complement of Montessori materials, activities, and experiences are available within each classroom that are designed to foster intellectual, creative, physical and social independence
  • A schedule that allows large blocks of uninterrupted work time for problem solving, understanding the interconnections of ideas and creating new thought
  • Individual and small group learning allows for the child to become self-directed, responsible for their learning, and find a balance between personal mastery and participation in collaborative projects
  • Authentic assessment of performance based on a systematic collection of information, including portfolios, student work samples, test scores, projects and applied learning outcomes
  • Students engaged in purposeful activity, with the right amount of rigor, and learning for the sake of learning – about themselves, their world, and how they can make a difference.


Whether you’re interested in expanding your own Montessori book collection or are shopping for a colleague or friend, you’ll find a wealth of recommendations from American Montessori Society (AMS). This book list also includes titles from AMS Keynote Speakers from past conferences. AMS makes purchasing these books easy through Amazon.

AMS Recommended Books

For more information about Harborlight Montessori and our infant/toddler, preschool, elementary, or middle school programs, please make an appointment to visit our Beverly, Ma campus. You can contact us here

About Harborlight

Harborlight Montessori is an independent, co-educational, day school for children from infant-toddler through grade 8 that is committed to innovative teaching and learning.