Based upon these scientific observations Montessori came to understand the inner nature of the child:
- The child is a dynamic, curious person that has an inner drive to discover the world. The Montessori classroom has a multitude of fascinating materials from which to select. Montessori students learn through hands on experience, investigation and research. They become actively engaged in their studies.
- The child comes to know the world through the senses. Consequently, experiences that develop and refine the senses are fundamental to knowing the world. The curriculum area of sensorial in the Montessori classroom aids the child in the development and refinement of the senses and the many manipulative materials in the classroom allows the child to explore and learn.
- The child has an inner curriculum. Essentially, the child constructs knowledge through physically manipulating the environment. The physical manipulation, or handling of the environment, allows the child to construct mental images. Mental images lay the foundation for later abstractions. The Montessori teacher does not teach, but rather provides experiences for the child to construct mental images. The Montessori teacher is often referred to as a guide.
- The child has an inner discipline. Students develop self-discipline and an internal sense of purpose and motivation. After graduation from Montessori, these values serve them well throughout their lives.
- The child learns that which is of personal interest. It is important, therefore, for the child to have freedom to select activities that are highly interesting. The Montessori classroom contains hundreds of colorful, exciting materials that are of interest to children.
- The child repeats activities until they are fully mastered. The Montessori class schedule has long, uninterrupted times in the morning and in the afternoon for the child to concentrate on activities.
- The child is naturally orderly and focused. The Montessori classroom is calm, respectful and peaceful. This atmosphere meets the child's inner need for an atmosphere that supports concentration. The Montessori classroom is very structured and encourages the child to maintain an orderly environment.
Based upon the inner nature of the child the role of the teacher is defined:
- The teacher observes the child to determine what is of interest to the child.
- The teacher prepares the environment to meet the observed needs of the child.
Based upon the nature of the child and the observed needs of the child the environment is prepared to serve the child.
- Montessori classrooms are not run by the teachers alone. Students learn to manage their own community and develop leadership skills and independence.
- Montessori environments consist of multi-age groups rather than classes comprised of just one grade level. Children stay with their teachers for three years. This allows teachers to develop close and long term relationships with their pupils, allows them to know each child's learning style and encourages a strong sense of community among the children.
- The Montessori curriculum always moves from the concrete towards abstraction, allowing the child to absorb the materials on all levels as they progress at their own pace.
- Montessori challenges students at any developmental and academic level.