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Montessori at Sandy Ford Private Secular School Preschool, Elementary and Middle School Serving Hickory and Newton, NC

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

- Maria Montessori

The Montessori Philosophy

WE BELIEVE... that children have an innate curiosity that leads them to explore the world around them. They employ all of their senses to investigate their environment. They learn at their own pace and should be allowed to experience the excitement of learning by their own choice rather than by being forced.


The hand is the chief teacher of the child. In order to learn there must be concentration. The best way a child can concentrate is by fixing his attention on some task he is performing with his hands. All the materials in the classroom invite the child to use his hands for learning. Materials are graded from simple to complex and are introduced sequentially, thus the child integrates new concepts into his present body of knowledge and builds on his previous experiences. For example, he may grade rods that differ only in length from shortest to longest; then go on to grade rods that vary in length and width.


We recognize the importance of your child becoming an independent thinker. When the child solves a problem himself he becomes a more self-confident person and will feel he can attempt things himself and be successful. The more independent your child becomes, the more he can participate in life and will have a positive attitude to all its challenges. Our goal is always to help the child build on his skills and show him how to approach problems rather than solving them for him. We do this by asking relevant questions that will lead him to the answer.


Teachers at Montessori at Sandy Ford (Guides) are role models. Guides listen attentively and think before they speak. They consciously teach the children to be kind and courteous to one another and to treat each other and adults with respect. The child receives specifically directed encouragement rather than blanket praise -- this feels more genuine to the child and fosters self-motivation and positive self-regard.

Montessori vs. Traditional Education

Traditional Education


Passive Class Learning through teacher-centered class lessons, paperwork.



Chronological Grouping requires external rewards such as grades, competition and social conformity.




Class Curriculum demands that students cover the same work at the same time at the same pace, regardless of individual interest.



Group Learning involves each academic subject being scheduled for a limited period. Each student is directly affected by the progress of the whole class.



Fragmented Education provides academic subjects that are not interrelated. Periods of intense mental efforts are alternated with periods of vigorous physical activity to release tension.



Dependency is promoted since the activities are initiated by the teacher.




Class Comparison occurs as work is evaluated and graded by the teacher. Students evaluate themselves against the group as best or worst in the class.




Abstract Education has students learning through mechanical memorization.



Class-Oriented Teaching prevents close interaction between individual students and teacher. Standardized tests are necessary to determine student progress.

Montessori Education


Active Individualized Learning through stimulating, multi-sensory teaching materials.


Multi-age Classrooms are a natural social environment that includes a wide range of ages and fosters self-motivation. Students enjoy working for their own sense of accomplishment.


Freedom of Choice involves decision-making. Students select their work according to individual interests.




Working at One’s Own Pace enables students to work for long periods without interruption. Each individual works at his potential, independent of the class.



Integral (Interwoven) Education balances academic work with freedom of movement and harmony is created between physical, social and mental activities. There is an interrelationship between subjects.



Independence is fostered by a classroom that is specifically designed to encourage maximum development.



Self-Evaluation occurs as students learn to evaluate their work objectively through the use of self-correcting teaching materials and individual work with the teacher.




Reality-Oriented Education maintains concrete; first-hand experience is the basis for abstraction.



Close Student-Teacher Interactionenables complete and precise evaluation of student’s progress, both academically and psychologically.




Articles and Videos about Montessori

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