Top 20 Montessori Terms Defined

Top 20 Montessori Glossary Terms

Many parents (and even new teachers) can get lost in the Montessori terminology. So, I did a little research and found that there are about twenty terms searched for the most in the Montessori Glossary. These are the top twenty glossary terms asked about and searched (hope this helps):

  1. Absorbent Mind: A mind able to absorb knowledge quickly and effortlessly. Montessori said the child from birth to six years has an absorbent mind.
  2. Adaptation: Related to the idea of an absorbent mind, a special power of the young child that can be called the power of adaptation. This power is a process whereby the young child uses the environment to develop and, in so doing, becomes a part of that environment.
  3. Analysis of Movement: A technique used by Montessori teachers. The adult, when showing a complex action to a child, breaks it down into its parts and shows one step at a time, executing each movement slowly and exactly.
  4. Children’s House: The English name for Montessori’s Casa dei Bambini (Italian). A place for children from 3-6 years to live and grow.
  5. Classification: The process of sorting or distributing according to common characteristics. The young child engages in classification activities because the process is essential for the construction of the intellect.
  6. Concentration: Recognizing that ‘the longer one does attend to a topic the more mastery of it one has,’ Montessori set out to do just that.
  7. Concrete to Abstract: A progression both logical and developmentally appropriate. The child is introduced first to a concrete material that embodies an abstract idea such as size or color.
  8. Nido: This is a Montessori environment for infants.
  9. Normalization: A natural developmental process in Montessori education.
  10. Control of Error: Montessori materials are designed so that the child receives instant feedback about her progress as she works, allowing her to recognize, correct, and learn from an error without adult assistance.
  11. Coordination of Movement: Refining large- and fine-motor movements is one of the accomplishments of early childhood development, as the child learns to complete tasks independently.
  12. Cosmic Education: Maria Montessori urged us to give children a “vision of the universe” to help them discover how all parts are interconnected and interdependent, and to help them understand their place in society and the world.
  13. Didactic Materials: Didactic meaning “designed or intended to teach,” these are the specially-designed instructional materials—many invented by Maria Montessori—that are a hallmark of all Montessori classrooms.
  14. Directress or Guide: Historically, the designation for the lead teacher in a Montessori classroom; some schools still refer to the lead teacher as “directress” or “guide,” while others use the more recognizable term, “teacher”.
  15. Casa dei Bambini: In Italian, “Children’s House,” and the name of Dr. Montessori’s first school.
  16. Sensorial: Refers to the Montessori learning area that deals with teaching through the senses.
  17. Practical Life: The area of a Montessori environment that encompasses life skills, helping children learn how to take care of themselves and their environment.
  18. Normalization: A term that Montessori used to describe the process where children move from being undisciplined to self-disciplined, from disordered to ordered, from distracted to focused through work in the environment.
  19. Planes of Development: Four distinct periods of growth, development, and learning that build on each other as children and youth progress through them: birth to 6 years, 6 to 12 years, 12 to 18 years, and 18 to 24 years.
  20. Sensitive Periods: These are specific time periods in a child’s life during which the child shows strong capacities for learning particular skills or knowledge. Dr. Montessori identified several sensitive periods in early childhood, including language acquisition, refinement of the senses, order, movement, and social behavior.

This should help any parent or teacher of a Montessori student to navigate and understand the Montessori Methods and why.