Teaching and Learning in a Montessori Classroom

January 24, 2017


In choosing a Montessori school, you intentionally choose a different method of learning for your child. As Montessori educators, we understand that this choice is made for a variety reasons and people may come to a Montessori school knowing a little or a lot about our way of schooling. We therefore like to provide highlights of information here on our website to help you understand our method. In this article, I will touch on how the Montessori curriculum is a fully integrated approach to learning.

Simple to Abstract Learning

A traditional curriculum compartmentalizes separate subjects, and certain topics are only taught at specific grade levels. The Montessori curriculum is organized as an inclined spiral plane of integrated studies.


In a Montessori classroom lessons are introduced simply and concretely in the early years, and reintroduced to students several times over their schooling experience. We move towards more abstract lessons and deeper understanding of the subject areas at higher levels. The Montessori curriculum of course includes all the elementary areas of study in the BC curriculum (and more) but has them organized as studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience as a whole.

Everything is Connected

All areas of study are integrated together, as much as possible to show that all things are connected. Literature, the arts, history, math, science, geography, and the study of technology all complement each other and work together to make up a unit of study.

When an elementary student is studying a continent, for example Asia, they look at the physical geography of the continent, climate, ecology, natural resources, language, religions, adaptations to the environment, food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and cultural traditions. The classroom would also have stories, novel studies, and history lessons to incorporate the language arts into the studies of Asia. They study the animals found in Asia, do traditional art works, learn a traditional dance or martial art, learn how to cook a traditional dish and listen to Asian music.

The learning environment becomes alive with this area of study. Students may study Asia in preschool, Lower Elementary, and again in Upper Elementary, but they are learning about that continent at a deeper level of understanding and possibly with a different focus each time. For example, they may focus on geography, animals, culture in Lower Elementary, but in the Upper Elementary they may move on to understanding systems of government and religions, how different cultures have adapted to their environments, and how these environments have shaped the peoples over time.

Start with The Great Story

We start all areas of study with what we call a Great Story.  Here we begin talking about math or language by telling the great story of math, and the history of how mathematical ideas developed. We also connect this to the area of geography we are studying at the time, teaching currency of a culture or how currency was developed and used in different places over time.


Another example is when we study fractions. We will often bring this lesson into the kitchen and learn how to follow a recipe at the same time, making fractions real and practical in their everyday life.

Learning in this way makes the topics of study become real to the child and they become engrossed in the topics, and fully involved in what they are learning. It is not simply facts to memorize for the period of social studies class for an hour a week, but rather a learning experience that is part of their whole day for weeks, possibly for a whole term.

Works in Progress

In our report cards we often mark “work in progress” for many of the bullets in science and social studies areas. This is because of the integrated learning style. The student will revisit and continue to add to their knowledge on these subject areas during their Montessori schooling experience. Learning about a culture or the theory of evolution can always be added to, and be taught at many different levels of understanding, therefore not something you master until well into your education. I know that every time I teach some of these areas I continue to add to my base of knowledge as well!


Have questions about Montessori Preschool or Elementary? Send us a message at office@westsidemontessoriacademy.ca

Our Preschool Open House is on
Saturday, January 28th!


Come learn more about our program and visit our classrooms. We’d love to see you there!

More information is here.

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