The greatest sign of success for a teacher…Is to be able to say, ‘the children are now working as if I did not exist – Maria Montessori.

Amy O’Connor
Executive Director
Key West, Florida

Karolina Bien
Office Manager
Gizycko, Poland

Liz Campbell
Mangrove Lead Guide
Chatham, New Jersey

Doriana Lisinski
Mangrove Assistant
Maplewood, New Jersey

Melanie Binder
Pigeon Plum Guide
Torrington, Connecticut

Abby Foster
Pigeon Plum Assistant
Johnson City, Tennessee

Pascale Beregovoi
Gumbo Limbo Directress
London, England

Nicole Kenny
Gumbo Limbo Assistant
Hollywood, Florida

Karina Bowders
Kapok Directress
Asuncion, Paraguay

Marjorie Calderon
Kapok Assistant
San Jose, Costa Rica

Karthiha Kunasekaran
Banyan Directress
Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Marleny Jones
Banyan Assistant
Restrepo Valle del Caucau, Colombia

Sally Zeman
Spanish Lime Directress
Chicago, Illinois

Stephanie Proffitt
Program Assistant
Asheville, North Carolina

Ann Fergus
Program Assistant
Leeds, England

Luz Ballesteros
Program Assistant
Bogota, Colombia

Jayci Hall
Extended Day Teacher
Key West, Florida

Marisa Estele
Extended Day Teacher
Maimi, Florida

Femi Manners
Extended Day Teacher

Ann McFarland
Music Teacher

Five Things that Montessori Teachers Do Differently

Have Faith

One of the biggest differences between Montessori and traditional teachers is the way the teacher perceives the child. You may have heard that Montessori teachers “follow the child.” But what you may not realize is the level of faith (in the child) it takes to rein yourself in and really allow the child to take the lead. It’s the adult’s natural instinct to assume a leadership role with children. We want to keep children safely in line, like little ducklings following our lead. That way, we know (or think we know) where everyone is and what they’re doing. But Montessori teachers understand that with attentive observation and a carefully prepared environment, adults can remain “in the know” without having to be in the lead.


Montessori teachers are not the focal point of the classroom. Instead, the focus is on the child having the right activities and opportunities to maximize his own learning. In a Montessori classroom, it is understood and accepted that every child can, and will settle down and concentrate when he finds the right “work.” As Montessori put it, “…The teacher must believe that this child before her will show his true nature when he finds a piece of work that attracts him. So what must she look out for? That one child or another will begin to concentrate.”

Give Guidance

This is not to say that the Montessori teacher does not play an active part in the child’s education. On the contrary, the teacher’s role as a guide is key. I think of the Montessori teacher as a Sherpa, a guide whose vital support allows each little explorer to reach his or her own personal zenith.


The Montessori teacher prepares the environment (i.e. the classroom) based on careful and continual observations of each child. Thus, the classroom provides developmentally-appropriate learning opportunities that interest the child. When the children are engaged in their activity-of-choice, the teacher may step back and allow them to learn at their own pace. There is no need for the teacher to provide motivation at this point. The children are driven by their own inner need for discovery.


Montessori teachers give individual or small group lessons as they move around the classroom, not one lesson in front of the whole class. Lessons are hands-on, straight forward, and intended to engage the child so that she will want to continue the discovery on her own. Once the child is engaged, the Montessori teacher steps back, and refrains from correcting, complimenting, or otherwise interfering in any way.

Originally posted on http://ageofmontessori.org