Inclusion in the Montessori Classroom

The process of inclusivity is being undertaken in many facets of society, not least in the education sector. Reflecting on the school year so far, I have observed through the lens of inclusion how the Montessori classroom is a naturally inclusive environment.

One of the many definitions of inclusion in the context of education is removing barriers to learning. My own personal definition of inclusion is creating a sense of belonging in the school setting for all children, where they feel valued, empowered, cared for and safe. Many of the characteristics of inclusion are evident every day in the Montessori classroom. Maria Montessori believed that all children had the ability and intrinsic motivation to learn. The organisation of the Montessori classroom alone demonstrates inclusivity: the mixed-aged classes, individual targets for each child based on their needs and strengths, encouragement of independent thought and choice, multi-sensory, self-correcting and concrete learning materials, and a supportive guide and facilitator in the form of the teacher.

I have observed a number of characteristics of inclusion over the past few months in the different classrooms: valuing all students equally, recognising children’s strengths and maintaining well-defined and high expectations for all. Similarly, with the curriculum in mind, inclusion is apparent by use of clear learning objectives, ongoing assessment, incidental learning opportunities, accommodating children’s learning differences… the list goes on.

It is incredibly encouraging to experience these practices, as children learn to embrace their own individuality and respect and appreciate one another’s differences. As we move into a new year, I will continue to reflect on and develop my own inclusive practices, with inspiration from the classes and teachers around me.

-Ms. Caoimhe, Learning Support Teacher at Montessori By The Sea

Ms. Caoimhe joined MBTS in August 2019 from Ireland, where she taught for nine years. She has a special interest in Additional Support Needs and completed a Masters in Inclusive Education. Her aim is to instill a love of learning in children and watch them progress through exploring their learning environment.  

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