The Role of the Teacher
Maria Montessori – The Absorbent Mind
"The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement is being formed… At no other age has the child greater need of intelligent help, and any obstacle that impedes his creative work will lessen the chance he has of achieving perfection."
The teacher's role in the Montessori classroom is less directive than is customary in traditional schools. The Montessori classroom is organized around the needs of the children. Dr. Montessori observed that children have a natural interest in learning, and as they grow they pass through "sensitive periods" when they are capable of acquiring a particular skill or knowledge.
Our teachers are specially trained to become expert observers of children so they understand the developmental needs of their students. The teacher's role is that of guide, observer, and caretaker of the prepared environment. The teacher is the child's link to the environment.
The teacher carefully prepares the environment by providing stimulating objects and by removing obstacles to learning. Typically a teacher will give a lesson to an individual child or to a small group, and then step back to allow the child to pursue the work independently.
The teacher will continue to observe the child to help overcome difficulties and redirect the child's interest when necessary. A professionally trained and certified Montessori teacher heads each one of our four classrooms. Each head teacher has one to four assistants.
The teacher:student ratio is no more than 12:1 for preschool and 13:1 for elementary, enabling the teacher to become well acquainted with each child's learning and development.