Maria Montessori is most well known for her work with very young children. In the United States, most Montessori classrooms are for children aged 3 to 6. Though there are many elementary classrooms, and even some Montessori classrooms for secondary students, her ideas are seldom discussed as useful for helping adults learn. This is unfortunate. Many of her principles, applied a bit differently than with children, are just as essential for effective adult learning.
One of the most obvious changes in adult learning over the last 10 years is the widespread use of the Internet. This is simply a huge leap in the effective organization of adults’ prepared learning environments. To take this one principle a bit further, the new industry of professional organizers is a testament to the fact that people get so much benefit from a better prepared environment that they are willing to pay to have it.
An essential principle in Montessori education is treating the environment and all the people in it with respect. Showing respect for the learner’s interests, pace, ideas, and needs is the most basic way adults in the classroom take a learner-centered approach to education. We believe this principle also needs to be the foundation of communication between all adults interested in Montessori teaching and training. While it is useful and productive to critically discuss the pros and cons of a learning material or lesson presentation sequence, that discussion must also maintain a tone of respect for all the people offering the conflicting ideas. We welcome feedback and suggestions to make our site and our approach to Montessori learning better. We ask that respect be shown toward everyone in the discussion.
The focus of this site is primarily the use of Montessori learning principles with children age 12 and younger. Here and there, we will offer suggestions for using this approach with older children and adults. We’ll also announce here when some projects that focus exclusively on adult learning are ready to go. We firmly believe a Montessori approach to learning is useful for everybody.