How Our Nature-based Program Compares to Montessori Schools

April 23, 2018

How does our Nature Based Program Compare to a Montessori Preschool?


Montessori Preschool Philosophy

Montessori is a child-centered educational philosophy where teachers serve as guides to each child’s educational progress. Children are able to learn at a pace that they set on their own. In Montessori programs the teacher’s job is to assist students in navigating materials and kids work at whatever level they are working at without judgment or corrective actions.


The materials in a Montessori school are specific and define the program.  They are both open-ended and close-ended in nature.


How we are similar to a Montessori Preschool Program:


  • We both value independence in children.

  • We both provide extended periods of uninterrupted time to focus on their play or work.

  • We both have mixed ages of 3-6 year olds together so they can learn from each other.

  • We both value the role of the teacher as guide when needed but teachers wait for requests rather than step in prematurely.

  • We both value practical life skills such as setting the table, washing dishes, sweeping up and doing classroom chores.

  • We both have play kitchen areas for open-ended, imaginative, role-play type play.

  • We both value order and classroom organization- everything has one place and is put back in the same place each day.  

  • We both value multi-cultural teachings.

  • We both value high quality materials- often made out of wood.

(From the Web for Montessori Schools)




How our Nature Based Program differs from a Montessori Preschool:


  • The majority of our materials are open-ended and do not have one ‘right answer.’  We believe that the future requires "High Concept, High Touch" skills that are more 'Right Brain" orieinted and possibilities are more important than finding where one peg fits.  Finding their own patterns in open-ended materials is more valued by us than stacking something from smallest to largest. We believe human beings derive most joy and fulfillment from the process of creating rather than completing an action designed by someone else.  We do have some puzzles and ordering materials that can help certain students find a place of focus in working together with a teacher and then return to creative play.  Our end goal is creative play.  

  • We do not have individual mats for doing our work.  Children are encouraged to work together and cooperate more than do individual work.  

  • We place a stronger value on cooperation than  individual independence.  

  • We do not focus on things like flags when we study other cultures- but make sure the material is living and relatable to the preschooler- things like food, fabrics, stories, animals and musical instruments.



Montessori materials found on the web




Scenes from our Nature Based Preschool Program:



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A Nature-based preschool program that combines Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio-Emilia & Charlotte Mason methods.

521  N Alma School Rd.

Mesa, AZ 85201