Montessori is a teaching discipline and is not affiliated with any religion. A Montessori School is a special place for the child to learn to work in the building of himself or herself.
Sensitive age periods are described as periods when the child shows unusual capabilities in acquiring specific skills. Another name for this phenomenon might be "formative periods" in which a child is psychologically attuned to acquire given ideas or skills more readily than at any other period.
Montessori is based on a profound respect for the child's personality. The child works from his own free choice and is allowed a large measure of independence. As each child progresses at his own pace and successfully completes the self-correcting exercises, he develops confidence in his ability to understand his achievement.
Montessori's Concept of Freedom
Freedom is a prerequisite condition for learning. A free child (or adult) is one who has developed his or her potential and prefers to work out problems; yet is capable of asking for and receiving direction when necessary.
Montessori's Concept of "Discipline"
Discipline is a prerequisite condition for learning. Montessori discipline is an "inner discipline" - an inner control which the child develops from his or her own behavior with the help of Montessori materials and in conjunction with his or her home environment.
Dr. Montessori noted that many so-called undisciplined children were really frustrated by the lack of proper stimulation and an inadequate opportunity to achieve. She noted that young people became happier and more self-controlled after a period of time in a Montessori class. They experience challenging tasks that not only absorbed their energies but resulted in the sense of achievement.
The Advantages of Un-graded, Mixed Age Classes
A child can work with older children and still have social interaction with children his or her own age. It is the only solution to the problem of "skipping and holding back' children who do not fit into the traditional academic world (most children do not really ever fit a mold).
Montessori children are quite adaptable since they have learned to work on their own without constant supervision. Montessori children are more confident, independent in self-learning, are leaders in the class, and have greater initiative.