Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in the small town of Chiaravalle in Italy. She graduated in 1896 with a degree in medicine and became the first female physician in Italy. While she was successful in the medical community, her real desire was to help children.  In 1906, she gave up medical practice to work with children in Rome.  During this time, Maria Montessori carefully observed these children and developed her Montessori method. She discovered through her observations that the children were best able to absorb knowledge through materials that they were able to manipulate within their natural surroundings.

What is the Montessori Method?

The Montessori Method is about a way of life. It is about giving children the experiences that will bring them to the conclusion that humans are only a part of the Universe that was once darkness.  It is about promoting peace among people of all nationalities.  It is about taking care of the environment. It is about respect and independence.

How is the Montessori school classroom different from that of the traditional classroom?

Emphasis on cognitive structures and social development   Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development
Teacher’s role is unobtrusive; child actively participates in learning   Teacher’s role is dominant; child is a passive participant
The Montessori method and environment encourages self-discipline   Teacher is primary enforcer of discipline
Mixed age groups   Same age groups
Children are encouraged to engage in cooperative learning, teaching collaborating and helping each other   Most teaching is done by the teacher and collaboration is discouraged
Children develop personal learning styles and set own pace to internalize information/knowledge   Instruction pace set by group norm or teacher
Organized program for learning care of self and self-directed care of environment    

When is the best time to enroll my child in a Montessori school?

Dr. Maria Montessori observed that by the age of three, a child is ready to have separation from his home environment. Our carefully planned preschool programs give your child a combination of freedom and structure necessary in developing her independence.

What are the qualifications of a Montessori guide (teacher)?

To become a Montessori school guide (also known as a directress or director) for children of grade one or above, one must possess a bachelor’s degree in any subject area and special certification for the Montessori level in which they teach.  For younger children, the guide must possess at least a two-year degree plus the Montessori certification.

What is the teacher - student ratio?

The Montessori School of Westminster has an average guide-to-student ratio of 1:8.

What kinds of experiences may a child have when he transitions from a Montessori method school to a more traditional setting?

“The Montessori School of Westminster taught me to be responsible, self-reliant, and gave me the will to want to learn more on my own. MSW always encouraged us to have personal relationships with our teachers and this greatly benefitted me once I went on to Garrison Forest because I wasn’t afraid to ask my teachers for help.”

- Alyssa, attended Montessori School of Westminster from age 3 through grade 8

What accreditations and/or affiliations does the Montessori School of Westminster have?

The Montessori School of Westminster is a member of the American Montessori Society and is approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. The Montessori School of Westminster is accredited by the Association of Independent Maryland Schools.  We have received Green School Certification from the state of Maryland.