A child-centered method of teaching, originated by Italian educator Maria Montessori. Although popular at all levels of education, now it is most associated with preschool and elementary school. Children are encouraged by their teachers or "guides" to choose their own activities and self-direct their own discovery and interaction.
Montessori curriculum focuses on five areas: practical life, sensory awareness education, language arts, mathematics and geometry and cultural subjects.
Class sizes tend to be slightly larger and include a range of children in a two- to three-year span. It is believed that the older children can help the younger ones and are encouraged to interact.
It's important to note that the Montessori is not exclusive and can be associated with more than one organization.