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What is Montessori Education?

What is a Montessori Education?
Pillars of a Montessori Education:
Prepared Environment: Children make connections to abstract thinking through the use of sequenced, kinesthetic materials.
Interdisciplinary Approach: Children make connections across the broad, internationally-developed curriculum. 
Time to Develop Deep Relationships: Children are with the same teacher for three years.
Opportunities to Learn Independence and Self-Direction: Children make choices about their work in the classroom and develop time-management and organization skills.  The multi-age classroom fosters the development of leadership skills.
Differential Curriculum: Children work on their own level individually and in small groups, which accelerates progress and builds confidence.
Respectful and Peaceful Community:  Teachers work with children to create a peaceful community built on mutual respect and care for self, others, and the environment.
Academically Rigorous and Challenging: Every child has the opportunity to move beyond the minimum level of skills in a given grade level.  Students are encouraged and learning facilitated to meet the needs of every level of instruction.