Montessori is not trademarked. The name 'Montessori' is quite popular as a result many Montessori schools claim to be the real thing. Some schools may include certain elements of Montessori methods and philosophy in their teaching.
Dr. Montessori established an institution AMI (Association Montessori Internationale in 1929) to maintain standards of her pedagogy. This global institute is responsible to educate and train adults according to the philosophy and maintain the authenticity of the Montessori method.
According to AMI standards, the characteristics of an authentic Montessori environment are:
1. Mixed-age group
2. The prepared environment
3. Montessori Guide
4. Uninterrupted work cycle
5. Child-directed work
Children between 3 to 6 years are all working together. The older children are guiding and leading the young ones and the young ones are observing and learning from the older ones. It is a mutually beneficial environment. The older children reinforce what they have learned. They also learn social-emotional skills while doing so. This is similar to recreating what happens in society or family with children of different ages interacting.
The Montessori environment is self-correcting, didactic in nature, and in-built control of error along with freedoms(Freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom to repeat, freedom to choose, freedom to communicate), order, structure, aseptically pleasing. The complete Montessori set covering all the five areas of the curriculum which are more than 300 activities catering to the different needs of the child from 3-6 years. Many of these activities are created by the Montessori adult/guide.
The adult working with the child has to undergo rigorous training and in the process unlearn so many myths about children before qualifying to be a Montessori directress from an institution that follows authentic Montessori. The guide follows the child, observes, prepares, and presents activities appropriate to the needs of the child.
Dr. Montessori suggests that children in the age-group 3- 6 years work for three hours. Children are allowed to choose an activity and work on an activity for an indefinite time. They continue to work on an activity as long as they want to. Children are self-driven; this drives them to work on an activity. Once the need is satisfied they move on to another activity. This leads to uninterrupted focus and concentration and as a result auto-education for becoming self-motivated, self-directed, empathic towards others, responsible, creative children.
The Montessori environment supports child-directed work. They don’t follow the adult’s schedule/time table. Every child is unique and has different needs. The directress/guide follows the child to caters to the different needs of the child.Child are active learners .