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George Watts Montessori is a magnet school within the Durham Public Schools System, serving students in grades Pre-K through fifth grade. In the 2004-2005 school year, the school began a transition from the traditional to the Montessori Method of education, beginning with Pre-K and Kindergarten and adding new Montessori grades each year after that until all grades in the school follow the Montessori Method.

How did Montessori begin?

The Montessori Method was started by Italian educator Dr. Maria Montessori in the late 1800s and early 1900s. After working with children from many different backgrounds, she saw a strong need for individualized instruction and beautiful, hands-on materials for children to work with. She also wanted grace and courtesy, as well as self-help skills, to be a part of the classroom. For more information on her life, read Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work, by E.M. Standing.

How is it different?

In a Montessori classroom, students work at their own paces to achieve mastery.

Each child receives individualized instruction and lesson plans.

Students receive most lessons one-on-one from the teachers.

Lessons are presented in a very concrete manner with materials that then lead the students to abstraction.

Classrooms are multi-aged.

The Montessori model assumes that all children want to learn and it respects the individual’s style and pace of learning. Classroom communities operate on the principle of freedom within limits, translating into respect for self others and the environment.

What about the Standard Course of Study?

The teachers and administrators of George Watts work very hard to mesh the Montessori curriculum with our state curriculum. With these two curriculums blended together, students are receiving the best of both worlds!

To look at the NC Standard Course of Study, please go to:

Montessori at George Watts

Teachers help parents understand how the Montessori method is used to teach kids at George Watts through open houses, special events, teacher-parent conferences, and Friday morning parent coffees.  Also, here are a couple Montessori lessons that you can try at home with your young students:

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