The term Montessori refers to a method of education created by Maria Montessori. The Montessori methodology is very popular in India and in many parts of the world. While the Montessori methodology is applicable to all age groups of students, it is most popularly adopted at the pre-primary level in India.
The Montessori methodology consists of a child-centric model that includes hands-on learning. The methodology encourages self-directed activities amongst children, who are guided by trained Montessori teachers. Children learn at their own pace and move on to other activities only when they have mastered the current activity. Further, the Montessori method accelerates reading and writing through the use of phonetics. Lastly, the Montessori classrooms (called environments) are multiple age environments with students between the ages of 3,4 and 5 learning together.
Montessori students adjust quickly to regular academics when they go to grade 1. They are fully prepared, and often do better than other students in higher grades. Here is a link to a video by the founders of google, who talk about the influence that Montessori education had on them.
In a multiple age learning environment, students from the ages of 2, 3 and 5 learn together in the same classroom. This method has several benefits. The junior students learn from the senior students, and this accelerates their comprehension and skills. The senior students learn patience and leadership skills when dealing with the junior students.
The Montessori methodology involves hands on learning. Every learning topic is supported by learning materials that children use, to understand that topic. Children typically learn to use simpler material and gradually move on to more complex ones, as their knowledge increases.
All Montessori schools are not the same as they may follow the Montessori methodology to varying degrees. A good way to understand if a school follows the Montessori methodology is to see the classroom. The material is typically arranged in shelves and there is enough space for students to work on various activities. Take a look at what our Montessori environments look like in this video https://youtu.be/yn93uLnC4JM .