Children have different needs at different times in their lives
Children pass through several distinct phases as they grow from babies into adults. Each of those phases is characterised by both physical and psychological differences. In each phase, children have different development needs, and because of this they require different environments in each phase.
Montessori infant-toddler programmes from birth to 3, are provided in several different formats:
- Ante-natal classes are given for expectant mothers and their partners.
- Toddler and Mother classes for mothers to learn with their child how to use an environment specially prepared for a child of this age, under the guidance of a Montessori trained adult. The class will focus on how to observe the child and how to offer appropriate activities.
- Nido are provided for children between the ages of two and fourteen months.
- Infant Communities are provided from fourteen months to three years and focus is given to movement, language and independence.
Between the ages of 3 and 6 the Montessori environment is called the Children’s House. Children coming from an Infant Community move into this environment between the ages of 2 1/2 and 3, as and when they show they are ready.
Montessori primary or elementary school provides an environment for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Sometimes the children are divided into two groups of 6-9 and 9-12 and sometimes all six years are put together.
The programme inspired by Montessori for adolescents between 12 and 15 is called the Erdkinder, meaning ‘children of the earth’. Montessori’s idea was that, because of their vulnerability at this age young adolescents need to be in a nurturing environment on a working farm where they could be close to nature, breathe fresh air, eat healthy food and be free from the stress of academic study and exams with time for self-expression and opportunities to learn how society works and to take responsibility for their own actions.
Montessori High School
At 15 adolescents can then move on to the Montessori High School where they will extend their academic study and take a school leaving qualification.