The Montessori Curriculum was created by Dr. Maria Montessori, who discovered the essential role of the environment in children’s early development and learning outcomes. After Montessori had become the first female physician in Italy, she founded her first Children’s House, the Casa dei Bambini, in 1906 (Isaacs, 2018). This experience allowed her to observe children and examine the importance of the prepared environment, respect and support for the child, and self-education for their development, which became central to her curriculum.
The Creative Curriculum is an evidence-based framework developed by the Teaching Strategies company. Years of research contributed to a better understanding of early childhood education needs by the organization’s founder, Diane Trister Dodge (Brown et al., 2019). As a result, the Creative Curriculum was developed to encourage creative and independent thinking in children.
Alignment with NAEYC’s principles of developmentally appropriate practices
The Montessori Curriculum is aligned with NAEYC’s principles of developmentally appropriate practices. In particular, children’s learning environment and processes are organized accordingly to their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive developmental needs (Isaacs, 2018). The NAEYC’s principles of increased complexity and cumulative learning are applied, promoting children’s development and self-learning. Children are encouraged to learn actively and interact with the environment appropriately for different age groups.
The Creative Curriculum is a practice aligned with NAEYC’s key principles. According to Brown et al. (2019), it “explicitly emphasizes all developmental domains while focusing on building relationships and a strong social‐emotional foundation” (p. 285). Learning experiences are provided as appropriate to encourage learning and confidence in children.
Methods for inclusion of students with disabilities and modification for English Language Learners
The Montessori Curriculum prioritizes the child’s needs and abilities over impersonal and generalized standards. The freedom of choice and movement, along with the support of deep concentration periods and self-selected activities, are essential methods of inclusion in the Montessori Curriculum (Isaacs, 2018). Modifications for English language learners (ELLs) include differentiated instructions and materials that introduce concrete representations and move on to abstract concepts, allowing children to build upon their knowledge.
The Creative Curriculum promotes the inclusion of students with special needs by adjusting educational experiences to meet children’s particular needs. Students with physical disabilities, learning disorders, or special needs are integrated into the classroom through individualized lesson plans (Brown et al., 2019). The modifications for English Language Learners adjusting instructions and including context into learning activities.
Examples of teaching strategies
A multisensory technique is one example of a teaching strategy aligned with the principles of the Montessori Curriculum. According to Isaacs (2018), the multisensory approach is “facilitated by materials such as the sandpaper letters, which introduce the child to letter sounds, shapes and symbols simultaneously” (p. 115). This strategy effectively engages children with various learning styles in developmental activities. Another example of a Montessori teaching strategy is based on the principle of a prepared environment that facilitates independent exploration. Both indoor and outdoor classrooms are designed to provide a broad range of activities within different areas of learning (Isaacs, 2018).
An example of a teaching strategy compliant with the fundamental principles of the Creative Curriculum is including brainstorming activities in the learning process (Brown et al., 2019). This approach promotes discovery, critical thinking, and creative choices, encouraging children to generate various ideas and contribute their points of view to the common discussion. Another teaching strategy example includes embedding art techniques into the learning process (Brons et al., 2019). In doing so, teachers can encourage children to express their emotions and ideas through engagement in various art activities. Working with different materials and tools allows students to explore the environment and learn through experience.
Brown, C. P., McMullen, M. B., & File, N. (Eds.). (2019). The Wiley handbook of early childhood care and education. John Wiley & Sons.
Isaacs, B. (2018). Understanding the Montessori approach: Early years education in practice (2nd ed.). Routledge.