How does the Montessori Philosophy and the IB work together?

March 05, 2020

As children turn 5 or 6 at IMSA, they’re ready to continue the Primary Years Programme (PYP) at IMSA’s sister School, World Academy of Tirana (WAT) which is an International Baccalaureate, certified World School (IB school code 006795). It’s core values and goals are in harmony with the Montessori philosophy, so that Montessori educated children may continue with a programme which is compatible with the one they’re used to explore the world around them.

Which are the similarities between IB and Montessori?

  • Both are based upon Method rather than Content.
  • Both promote individual enquiry.
  • Both promote social and community behaviour.
  • Both promote children’s education for peace.
  • Both are child-centred (rather than teacher-centred).
  • Both set high expectations – “all children are gifted”.
  • Both believe in self-discipline and integral sense of purpose.
  • Both have diversity leading to global perspectives.
  • Both promote balance and harmony in the person.
  • Both promote connections between presented separativities.
  • Both promote the value of solid, hard and uninterrupted work.

“The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult.”

“If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future.”

— Maria Montessori

The IBO aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”

— IB Mission Statement
Is Montessori opposed to competition?

Dr Montessori, herself an extraordinary student and a very high achiever, was never opposed to competition on principle. Her objection was to using competition to create an artificial motivation to get students to achieve. She observed that competition was an ineffective tool to motivate children to learn and work hard in school. Montessori argued that for an education to profoundly touch a child’s heart and mind, the child must be learning because they are curious and interested, not to earn the highest grade in the class.

Traditionally schools challenge students to compete with each other for grades, class rankings, and special awards. Students are constantly measured against their classmates, rather than considered for their individual progress. At IMSA and WAT, students learn to collaborate with each other rather than mindlessly compete. Students discover their own innate abilities and develop a strong sense of independence, self-confidence, and self-discipline. In an atmosphere in which children learn at their own pace and compete only against themselves, they learn not to be afraid of making mistakes. They quickly find that few things in life come easily, and they can try again without fear of embarrassment.

How much freedom in the classroom do WAT IB students really have?

While the students at WAT are permitted considerable latitude to pursue topics that interest them, this freedom is conditional and comes with clear responsibilities. Children must be considerate and not disturb the learning of others. Both children and teachers are aware of the work that must be done by each student, covering all areas required in the curriculum. Children who have been at IMSA from an early age and whose home environment is compatible with Montessori education, tend to be self-directed in their learning. These children want to learn, and therefore lack of motivation is not a problem.

What is the teacher’s role in a an IMSA and WAT classroom?

The class teachers at IMSA and WAT are primarily concerned with children as individuals. Their skill is to be an unobtrusive observer while directing each child in the learning process. You may need to look around the room to find the teacher because they are usually working quietly with a child on his/her individual level.

Montessori terminology