The aim of a Montessori education is to foster competent, responsible and adaptive citizens who are life-long learners and problem solvers.

Recent research supports the educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori from nearly 100 years ago, citing that between birth and six years close to 80 percent of the adult intelligence is developed. According to Montessori, it is during this time that the child has a unique aptitude for learning -- a natural ability to absorb information as a result of experience. Children have 'sensitive periods' with intense fascination for learning a particular skill, practical or academic.

A prepared Montessori environment meaningfully incorporates the real world into the classroom -- with fragile items and purposeful tasks. The materials are engaging to the children, appealing to their developmental interests, and the set up of the classroom is designed to stimulate independent exploration.

The teachers, who are expressly trained in the Montessori method, carefully plan the environment and work with each child individually. The child is allowed to choose from many activities within his range of ability. A teacher is present when needed by the child, but steps back when the child can do it on his/her own.

A Montessori classroom is multi-aged with peer teaching and cooperative learning. The children develop social and leadership skills. An emphasis on respect for oneself and others as well as on the proper use of classroom materials contributes to the child's sense of self-discipline and control -- skills that help students make constructive use of classroom time and freedom.