frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions by Montessori Academy Families

Families that are new to Montessori education often don’t know where to begin or what to ask.

Please see below for a few of our most frequently asked questions. Click the plus sign to expand the answer.

If can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please call our dedicated Family Care Team on 1300 000 162 or send your question to

What is Montessori?

Montessori (pronounced MON-tuh-SORE-ee) is a philosophy of education that is based on the research findings of Doctor Maria Montessori. It is founded on the observation that children have a natural love of learning that is driven by their desire to understand and explain the world around them. The purpose of Montessori education is to nurture each child’s developmental needs and interests, and assist them in achieving their full potential. For more information see Montessori Education.

Where did Montessori come from?

Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Doctor Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female Doctor. She based her educational method on scientific observation of children’s learning processes as they progressed from birth to maturity. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Montessori designed a ‘prepared environment’ in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, a century after Maria Montessori’s first ‘Children’s House’ and Montessori education is found all over the world.

How is a Montessori different to other play based childcare services?

The Montessori classroom doesn’t look or sound like a play based classroom. Designed to encourage freedom of choice, independence and meaningful learning opportunities, students participate in a range of activities to support their development. Key differentiators of the Montessori classroom include the prepared environment, self-correcting materials, and the role of the teacher as skilled observer. Unlike play based early learning services, Montessori encourages children to learn at their own pace, follow their interests, and correct their own mistakes. To learn more see the Montessori Difference.

Does the Montessori program apply to infants?

Children under the age of two have an amazing capacity to learn from the world around them. The Montessori Infants Program has been specifically designed to assist young children’s development needs and interests. The most important things children learn in the Montessori Infant Program are coordination of movement, strong social skills, the development of their vocabulary, and introductory mathematical concepts that prepared them for the Toddler and Preschool Program. To find our more see our Infant Program.

Do you have a school readiness program? What does it entail?

At Montessori Academy we begin our school readiness program at the age of two when children are introduced to the Toddler Program. This ensures that children are consistently building their foundational knowledge and skills over time. By starting at the age of two, children are encouraged to adapt to a more structure classroom routine, practice basic reading and writing skills, and immerse themselves in education based on their interests. Once children move on to the preschool room, there is a more structured learning program to prepare children for school. This program focuses on foundational mathematics and language skills, as well as a strong base for science, geography, art and culture. To find out more see Preparation for School.

Why do Montessori classrooms have mixed-age groups?

Parents often ask why Montessori classes group children by two to three-year age groups, when primary schools group students by their birth year. The primary reason for this is that mixed-age groups encourage imitate learning, a strong sense of community, and allow children to work to their level of development. To find out more see Mixed-Age Classes.

How long will it take my child to settle in?

Every child takes a different amount of time to settle into a new childcare service. Some children settle the same day, whereas others can take more than one month. For children who attend three or more days per week, it is likely that they will settle sooner than children who attend less days. Our caring Centre Managers and team of educators will work with you to make the transition as smooth as possible. Click to find about more about Separation Anxiety.

How do Montessori children adjust to systemic schools?

Children who have had a sound Montessori education are independent, self-motivated and confident learners. These sounds learning skills enable children to adjust easily to new situations and environments, including the systemic school system. Graduating preschoolers generally transition to kindergarten with ease, and are typically developmentally ahead of their peers.

Why should I send my child to preschool?

Educators and psychologists agree that the single most important period in the development occurs from birth to age six. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that attending a high-quality early education program delivers lasting health and educational outcomes that prepare children for school and beyond.

When should children start an early learning program?

Every child and every family’s needs are different. If possible, it is generally best to start an early education program between 6 months and 2 years. The first six years of a child’s life are crucial to the development of the child’s personality and intelligence.

What is the ratio of children to staff?

Montessori Academy follow the NSW Government required ratios of one educator per four children for children under two years, one educator to five children for children under three years, and one educator per ten children for students under six years.

When do you start toilet training?

The sensitive period for toileting occurs between 18 months – 3 years. At Montessori Academy, we prefer that children are toilet trained before they commence the Toddler Program. We work with families to begin the toilet training journey when you feel your child is ready.

How is bad behaviour dealt with?

Montessori Academy encourages positive and respectful interactions between staff and children. This is reinforced throughout the school day, as a harmonious learning environment is a productive one. Therefore, if a child is demonstrating negative behaviour towards other children or staff, we do have a Behaviour Management Plan that we discuss with our families. If a child continues to display negative behaviour after the plan has been implemented, their place may be withdrawn, as outlined in our Extreme Behaviour Policy. The safety and happiness of our students and staff is our top priority.

When do children transition rooms?

Children generally transition between rooms when the child is developmentally ready to commence the next stage of the Montessori program. The appropriate time to transition is usually agreed upon by the child’s Room Leader, Centre Manager, and parents. Most children transition up in the month leading up to or after their birthday. Transitioning is subject to availability in the older class.

Can you cater for my child’s disability?

Montessori Academy does cater for children with diverse abilities. In fact, the principles of Montessori education were designed to help children with additional needs achieve their full potential. Montessori is suitable for every child; however, children with behavioural issues may be less suited to Montessori based on the structured aspect of the learning environment. For specific advice on your child’s abilities, it is best to talk to our dedicated Family Care Team to determine whether your location of choice can provide the best care for your child.