What is Montessori?

The Montessori method of education is a system of education for children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods. It was developed by physician Maria Montessori. It emphasizes independence and it views children as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a sufficiently supportive and well-prepared learning environment.

Dr. Maria Montessori, born in 1870, received her medical degree in Italy. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. She never published a theory until she had observed it for many years with children of all social classes and in many countries.

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a “blank slate” waiting to be written upon.

Her main contribution to those of us raising and educating children are in these areas:

  1. Learning to prepare the best environment for the child, according to the different stages of life.
  2. Learning to observe the child living freely in this environment, and to continually adapt the environment for the ever-changing child, in order that he may fulfill his greatest potential, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

The Montessori Method is dynamic in that observation and meeting of needs is continual and specific for each child.

Many people think of the term “Montessori” as it is applied to communities of children between ages three and six. However the discoveries of Maria Montessori are valuable for anyone living and working with children in any situation.

Montessori schools exist for children of all ages, infants through high school in many countries around the world.

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten


Math activities in the Montessori classroom provide children with the tools they need to build a clear understanding of foundational math concepts.

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

We use special math materials to convey basic math concepts such as an understanding of 1-10, and an introduction to the decimal. The hands on Montessori math materials provide the child with a tangible and genuine understanding of the difference between 3 tens and 3 thousands.

Following this solid introduction to numerals, quantities and functions, the child is able to transition into practicing math in a more abstract way. The idea of fractions, working with money and exchanges are then introduced. A solid understanding of these foundational skills is laid before the end of their kindergarten year.


Language activities in the Montessori classroom are designed to support vocabulary growth, fine motor skills, pencil grip and oral language development.

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

Children learn to isolate the beginning, ending and middle sounds of spoken words through a game called “I Spy.” When working towards visual recognition of letters the child is taught the letter sound rather than the letter name. This allows much quicker acquisition of sounding words out phonetically, which is one of the stepping stones to reading!

By 3.5-4 years old students are often writing and beginning to form letters on their own, and between 4 and 6 years of age, many begin reading. As their ability and interest blossoms, they are introduced to increasing challenges such as reading words that cannot be sounded out phonetically and how to identify parts of grammar within a sentence.

Practical Life

Montessori schools have a unique area of the classroom called “practical life.” Here, the children practice life skills that are necessary to function as independent humans.

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

At first they practice very basic tasks such as how to carry a tray, clean up a spill, sweep up a mess, use a sponge and tuck in a chair all while gaining motor skills and the confidence to care for themselves. Later the tasks become more challenging and require deeper concentration. Some of these activities might include tweezing, tonging, bubble making, water pouring, baby doll washing, dressing skills, sewing and table scrubbing. The practical life area is designed to support and encourage motor control, coordination, independence, concentration, and a sense of responsibility.


Sensorial activities help children refine their natural sense of sight, sound, hearing, taste and touch.

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

It is in the sensorial area that children first begin to understand the visual concept of 1-10 as well as biggest and smallest or shortest and longest. They learn to match primary colors and then secondary colors before they begin to grade colors from darkest to lightest. The smelling bottles provide them an opportunity to exercise the olfactory sense and the thermic tablets allow them to fine tune their sense of touch. The sound cylinders and the bells cultivate refined auditory discrimination. The sensorial area is designed to support and encourage refinement of senses, language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills and problem solving skills.


The cultural area in our classroom integrates lessons of history, geography and science.

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

The youngest of children learn to sort and classify objects by categories such as living or non-living, plant or animal and vertebrate or invertebrate. They also receive a concrete introduction to the globe, the continent map and where we live in the world. As they progress they learn the names of the countries on each continent, beginning with their home continent. They also learn to identify flags of various countries, animal tracks, leaf types, the parts of a flower and body parts of various animals. Children have an opportunity to dive into real scientific exploration by dissecting plants, learning to use scientific tools such as microscopes and magnifying glasses, performing science experiments and observing natural phenomenon. The cultural area in the Montessori classroom aims to solidify a child’s understanding about the world around them while simultaneously engaging their sense of wonder. History, geography and science can be found everywhere; from the most simple nature walk to an in-depth discussion on how the Earth came into existence.


The art room is designed for the children to safely explore various mediums and to become confident in their ability to BE an artist!

  • Spokane Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten

Children learn how to set up their work space, how to hold scissors and cut properly, how to use glue, how to watercolor, easel paint, pin poke, free draw and so much more! Art is one of the many ways children express themselves. It is a beautiful way for children to sit with and communicate their feelings. It is through art that children develop their fine motor skills and potentially deep levels of concentration. In our classroom, we provide a variety of art activities designed to build skills as well as generate a passion for creativity.

Ready for your child to reach their full potential?