Montessori: The Way We Do Things...

Montessori is not a THING that we DO, but the WAY that we do things.

Hands-on Sensory Learning - Learning by Discovery

Young children learn by touching and playing. As they get older, learning goes from concrete to abstract, but at Edgemont an element of hands-on learning always remains to excite their senses and stimulate their interest- Montessori materials, math manipulatives, science experiments in the Cosmic Studies room, and cooking and gardening are examples.

Differentiated Learning

Montessori teachers are well-suited to respond to the different needs and learning styles of student because they are trained to work in multi-age classrooms in which there is a wide range of skills and abilities. They use flexible groupings; individual and small group instruction always takes place in our classrooms. The Cosmic Studies room and every classroom are stocked with resources and materials that enable students to explore a subject on many different levels. We call it built-in enrichment.

Educating the Whole Child

A child is an intellectual being, but also a social, emotional, and spiritual being. We make sure that every part of a child’s life is engaged by offering them opportunities to research, plan and present celebrations and events for each other such as our Medieval Feast and Greek Festivals. Older and younger children work together in programs like our Book Buddies. Manners and respect for each other are discussed and modeled through the Courtesy and Grace component of our program.

Choice - Decision-Making - Freedom Within Limits

Teachers provide framework and structure - the work that must be done by the end of the week, for instance. Children get to choose when the do it (now or later), where they do it (desk or floor), and with whom they do it (alone, with a partner, in a group). Teachers set parameters; within those guidelines, children are empowered to make their own choices. We feel this leads to independent, motivated students.

Collaborative Learning - Self-Directed Learners

There is a low hum of quiet activity in our classrooms. Even when tour groups visit a classroom, the children rarely interrupt their work. Teachers provide classroom instruction and then children may work independently, with a partner, or in small groups. Children frequently teach and learn from each other. The physical freedom of moving around the room and speaking together quietly eliminates many discipline problems.

Peace Education

Maria Montessori said, "Averting war is the work of politicians, establishing peace is the work of education." We are the districts Peaceable School Model. Conflict resolution training begins as early as kindergarten and fourth- and fifth-graders are trained in peer mediation. By talking and teaching respect for each other, bullying is minimized.

Respect for the Earth

Maria Montessori felt that the land is where our roots are and that children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth. In addition to our environmental curriculum in the classroom and the Cosmic Studies room, we have outdoor garden plots and an outdoor classroom. Families join in through the Green Team, Harvest Celebration, Edgemont Park clean-ups, and recycling and composting efforts.

Social Responsibility and Global Awareness

We strive to promote respect and compassion in children, both for people close to them and for those around the world. Students put their skills to work in service learning projects such as collecting acorns for replanting of native NJ trees; the Mitten Tree - collections of cold-weather wear for the homeless; pennies for Haiti and Sri Lanka; book collections for New Orleans, and many more.

Infusion of Technology

Technology is a part of everything we do. Maria Montessori developed materials that were hands-on, self-correcting, and appealing to children, all of which applies to the technology we use at school today. We feel Dr. Montessori would insist on the use of these digital tools for twenty-first century teaching and learning.

At Edgemont, students have access to desktop computers, laptops, Chromebooks, and iPads to meet their learning needs. All classrooms are also equipped with Interactive Projectors/Whiteboards,


At Edgemont, we combine the well-researched, time-tested insights of Dr. Maria Montessori with the rapidly evolving technology of our time to create a progressive and academically excellent program, which prepares our students for the twenty-first century in which they live.

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