Dr. Steven J. Hughes, a pediatric neuropsychologist and founding chair of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Global Research Committee, defines the Montessori pedagogy as follows: "Montessori education is a brain-based, developmental method that allows children to make creative choices in discovering people, places, and knowledge of the world. It is hands-on learning, self-expressing, and collaborative play in a beautifully crafted environment of respect, peace, and joy." (Source: "Neuropsychology and Montessori," published in AMI/USA News, January 2009, Vol XVIII.)
Key features of authentic Montessori programs*:
- A Prepared Adult – knowledgeable of the stages of development of the children, young adults, and adults with whom they are interacting.
- A Prepared Environment – beautiful, ordered, and designed for multi-age groupings, containing activities that respond to the specific needs of the age group. The prepared environment encompasses both internal and external spaces.
In these circumstances children, young adults, and adults find what is necessary for their individual development while gaining real-life experiences of what it means to live a fulfilled life in the company of others; of what it means to exercise freedom of choice while also taking responsibility for the impact of their actions on the well-being of the community they live in and the earth that they live on.
*Source: Association Montessori Internationale