“To aid life … that is the basic task of the educator.”
Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Montessori education is based on the premise that children have an innate ability to learn and that when supported by an appropriate environment and educator, they are guided through their developmental needs to reach their full potential.
A Montessori classroom typically has a trained Montessori teacher, known as a Lead Guide, supported by a Montessori assistant. The teacher is a guide or facilitator whose task it is to support the young child in their process of self-development. They are foremost an observer, unobtrusively yet carefully monitoring each child's development, recognizing, and interpreting each child's needs.
The teacher provides a link between the child and the prepared environment, introducing the child to each piece of equipment when he or she is ready in a precise, clear, and enticing way. The most important attribute of a Montessori teacher is the love and respect she holds for each child's total being.
The Montessori assistant’s role is to support the teacher and promote peace and order in the classroom. They value and respect the uniqueness of each child while consistently nurturing and modeling a love of learning. The assistant is a keen observer and is knowledgeable about developmentally appropriate behavior and practices and supports the individual needs and interests of the children.