Fundamental Principles of Montessori Schools

Principle 1:
Classes in Montessori Schools are mixed-age and non-graded.
 Mixed-age classes comprise at least three-year groupings corresponding to the Planes of
Development: 3 – 6; 6 – 9 and 9 – 12 or 6 – 12; 12 – 15 and 15 – 18 or 12 – 18.
 Mixed-age groups are not correlated to grades, nor are they divided in other ways according to
achievement levels or normative standards.

The 0-3 sub-plane is divided as follows:
 Infant (Nido) groups: Approximately 3 months (or older) to when the child is walking well (about
12 – 18 months; and
 Toddler Communities: From when the child is walking well (about 12 – 18 months) to about 2½ or
3 years.

Principle 2:
Montessori schools accommodate an extended period of uninterrupted self-chosen activity – a period
during which children can choose their own activity and work undisturbed for a minimum of three hours.

Principle 3:
Rewards and Punishments are not used in a Montessori environment.

Principle 4:
A prepared environment is a critical component of Montessori Pedagogy.
The prepared environment
 Serves the developmental and pedagogical needs of the children using it;
 Supports freedom of movement, speech and association;
 Supports free choice of activity;
 Facilitates normalization (3-6), adaptation (6-12) and valorisation (12 – 18);
 Includes a full range of Montessori materials appropriate to the age for which it is prepared.

Principle 5:
The adults in the Montessori environment exhibit and apply the principles of Montessori pedagogy
 A disposition of respect and patience towards the child;
 An ability to balance the principle of non-intervention while at the same time not abandoning the
 Trust in Montessori principles, methodology and pedagogical aims;
 Seeing the role of the adult as primarily observer, scientist and interpreter of the environment
rather than as a teacher in the conventional sense;
 Guiding the child to normalization and development appropriate to each Plane of Development.

Principle 6:
Montessori schools implement the SAMA Montessori curriculum for ages 0-12.

*Principles adopted at the 2011 SAMA AGM/Amended at the 2016 SAMA AGM/Amended at the 2018 AGM