CMA was founded in 2012 by a group of educators who saw the need to ensure a robust and effective voice in Colorado for Montessori pedagogy. The support of a group of Founding Schools and Organizations, as well as individual Board Members was crucial to the establishment of a strong non-profit institution.
CMA Board members have diverse backgrounds in Montessori education and volunteer their services.
What is Montessori Education?
Montessori education is rooted in neuroscience and human development. Education begins with the premise that children are naturally curious, learn from their surroundings, and desire increased levels of independence.
Recognizing that children are intrinsically capable, Montessori teachers create a classroom environment that cultivates confidence and empowers children to master the array of
academic and social skills that will serve them not only in future educational settings, but
Core Elements of Montessori Classrooms
By design, Montessori classrooms incorporate several core elements that work in concert with one another to optimize each child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
Because these elements are interdependent, they must all be present and well-supported for a classroom to be Montessori. Having a Montessori credentialed teacher leading every classroom is critical to ensuring that all of these core components are implemented.
A Prepared Environment
All aspects of the classroom including furniture, materials, and supplies are thoughtfully
designed for and accessible to children, making all elements of the classroom integral
components of a child’s education.
Ensuring that children have what they need to function independently builds confidence and allows them to take ownership in caring for their classroom community. An aesthetically pleasing environment draws children in to explore all that the classroom has to offer.
A full complement of carefully sequenced and scaffolded Montessori materials allows children to build skills, knowledge, confidence, and mastery of academic concepts that align with and go beyond accepted educational standards such as Common Core.
Children receive lessons
individually or in small groups, affording the teacher the opportunity to observe each child’s comprehension and offer individualized support.
3-Year Mixed Age Groups
Across certain age bands, children share multiple developmental characteristics. As such, Montessori classrooms intentionally group children together in specific three-year age groups.
Younger children learn from their older peers and are motivated by observing their activities. Simultaneously, older children develop leadership skills and have concepts reinforced as they assist younger classmates.
Children are often able to problem-solve independently of the teacher because a community of peer support is fostered. Spending three years in the same classroom provides children the opportunity to experience the benefits of being the youngest and the oldest during their time in the classroom.
In addition, spending three years in the same multiage classroom allows children’s cognitive, social-emotional, and other skills to develop at a pace that is right for each child.
Higher Adult-Child Ratios and Group Sizes
The Montessori classroom is a dynamic learning environment with multiple activities
occurring simultaneously. Because the entire classroom is designed to facilitate children’s
independence and sense of capability, adults are not needed to manage every situation or
sustain the attention of the entire class at the same time.
Larger class sizes are intentional
because they give children greater agency over their own learning and foster independence; all
of the components outlined above support optimal child development with larger class sizes and adult-child ratios.
Uninterrupted Learning Time
Developing focus, concentration, and a sustained attention span undergird children’s present
and future learning. Offering children open-ended time to engage with educational materials bolsters children’s skills in these areas.
A High Degree of Freedom
Children in a Montessori classroom have significant freedom to choose which learning activities they use each day, where and how much time they spend with any particular
This freedom honors the child’s own interests, abilities, and internal pace, allowing them to focus on a given concept until they feel confident with it, or dive more deeply into a subject they are passionate about.
Within this environment of choice, teachers ensure that children engage with all subject material and acquire developmentally appropriate academic and social-emotional skills.
Montessori Teacher Preparation
All of the above components can only be well implemented and supported by an individual who is prepared for teaching using the Montessori philosophy and curriculum, namely a person holding a credential issued by an AMI or AMS affiliated or a MACTE accredited teacher education program.
Montessori teacher preparation includes extensive studies in child development, instructional
methods (including differentiated instruction) and curriculum, classroom management, and
culturally responsive methods, all within the context of a Montessori classroom.
In addition, the coursework encompasses family relationships and professional standards for Montessori teachers plus a supervised student teaching experience. At a minimum, these intensive preparation courses are the equivalent of 32 hours of college coursework in early childhood education.
Effectiveness of Montessori Education
Researchers have matched Montessori students to non-Montessori students with the same demographics and similar baseline academic performance. These matched analyses provided
evidence that Montessori students experienced greater achievement growth in ELA, math, and
Further, the benefits of Montessori extend beyond standardized test scores. A 3-year longitudinal study of children admitted through a randomized lottery to public Montessori
schools in a high-poverty American city.
Montessori preschool elevated children’s outcomes in several ways including measures of academic achievement, social understanding, and mastery orientation. They also reported relatively more liking of scholastic tasks.