Contact the Alfred Montessori School

The Montessori education method fosters social and academic growth in children. Contact the Alfred Montessori School about our education and day care programs to learn how we can serve your family.

Judith A. Rose - Executive Director

location_on 8 ½ South Main Street Alfred, New York 14802.

Phone: (607) 587-9334

Fax: (607) 587-8889


  • helpFAQ's
    • Q. Where did Montessori come from?
    • A. Montessori (pronounced MON-tuh-SORE-ee) education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children's learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a "prepared environment" in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, nearly a century after Maria Montessori's first casa dei bambini ("children's house") in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.
    • Q. What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
    • A. Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.
    • Q. Are Montessori children successful later in life?
    • A. Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.
    • Q. There doesn't seem to be any opportunities for pretend play, the materials don't seem to allow children to be creative, and children don't seem to be interacting with another very much.
    • A. (1) When Dr. Montessori opened the first Children's House it was full of pretend play things. The children never played with them as long as they were allowed to do real things - i.e. cooking instead of pretending to cook. It is still true. (2) the materials teach specific things and then the creativity is incredible. Like learning how to handle a good violin and then playing music. It is not considered "creative" to use a violin as a hammer, or a bridge while playing with blocks. We consider it "creative" to learn how to use the violin properly and then create music. The same goes for the materials in a Montessori classroom. (3) there is as much interaction as the children desire, but the tasks are so satisfying that, for these few hours a day, children want to master the challenges offered by them. Then they become happier and kinder—true socialization. Also, since concentration is protected above all, as all "work" is respected, children learn early on not to interrupt someone who is concentrating
  • historyHistory of the Approach
    The Montessori approach to education takes its name from Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator (1870-1952). Dr. Maria Montessori developed her educational philosophy as a result of her observations of the way children naturally learn. Dr. Maria Montessori's first class consisted of 50-60 children, ages 3-6, most of whom suffered from malnutrition and were shy and fearful since they lived in the slums of Florence, Italy. Montessori found that the children needed very little persuading to do everyday tasks, puzzles or other interesting activities which directed their energy away from destructive behaviors. She described the ages from three to six as a particularly sensitive time during which young children are especially attuned to acquiring knowledge from and about their environment. To enrich their experience, Dr. Maria Montessori developed a "prepared environment" of child sized furniture and material in order to adapt to the surroundings to the child's natural size and behavior. This helped the children to feel relaxed and comfortable which created a will to learn. Through this interaction and experience, the children developed an extraordinarily high level of intellectual and social ability at young ages. Maria Montessori expanded her study of the young child, and gradually refined her approach to all child development areas through her experience and research in countries as diverse as Spain and India until the time of her death in 1952. The Montessori Method is now being successfully implemented with children in nearly every country of the world. There was a significant influence in the United States in the early 1960's and today there are more than 3,000 Montessori programs in this country. The Montessori Method is applied most frequently in pre-school and elementary education grade levels but is very effective in the high school setting as well. Montessori education has no religious affiliation, is not a therapy, nor is it an approach useful only with certain categories of children. In addition, Montessori techniques can be used successfully with all children regardless of whether they are gifted, have learning disabilities or other special needs.
  • bookPhilosophy
    Dr. Montessori developed her educational philosophy as a result of observations and discoveries she made of the ways in which children learn. She found that they learn in distinctly different ways at different stages of development. She formulated an educational program to meet the particular needs of the child at whatever stage of development, to help him/her reach his/her fullest potential. Dr. Montessori preferred not to call this a "method," but an "approach" to life. She said, "What I have done is merely to study the child, to take and express what he has given me." She believed that no one is educated by another- he must do it himself, and thus, the goal of early childhood education should be to cultivate the child's own natural desire and ability to learn and to protect the essential nature of the child. Young children, she discovered, have a unique aptitude for learning not found again at any other period of life. Montessori identified this quality as the "absorbent mind." The young child literally absorbs information from his or her surroundings. During certain periods in this phase of development s/he is more easily able to absorb specific types of learning. Dr. Montessori referred to these as the "sensitive periods." Acquiring information in this way is a natural and delightful activity for the young child who employs all his senses to investigate his interesting surroundings. Since the child retains the ability to learn by absorbing until s/he is almost seven years old, Dr. Montessori reasoned that a classroom where s/he could handle the materials that would demonstrate basic educational information could enrich his or her experience. Montessori designed just this kind of classroom, and she called it the "prepared environment." In this environment everything is scaled to the child's size; the material is attractive, didactic, and presented in an orderly manner. The materials cover the areas of practical life (care of the person and the environment); sensory awareness; language; mathematics, and cultural subjects (art, music, geography, history and science). In the classroom the environment is the real teacher; the child, the central focus.