Director / Guide / Advisor (Montessori)

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In a Montessori context, the terms 'Director', 'Guide', or 'Advisor' often refer to the lead educator in a Montessori classroom. Different Montessori schools may use different terminologies, with some using the more traditional term 'Teacher'. Regardless of the terminology, the role of this individual is fundamentally the same.

The educator in a Montessori setting assumes a unique role, distinct from traditional educational models. Rather than delivering a centralized lecture or directing the classroom, the Montessori teacher observes the students and guides them towards activities that align with their interests and developmental readiness. This process encourages self-direction and independence in learning[1].

Montessori Quotes on the Role of the Teacher

"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.' "

— Maria Montessori, "The Absorbent Mind"

Research and Critiques


The Montessori teacher's role as a guide can foster independence and self-regulation in students[2]. Their observational and responsive approach can cater to individual differences and developmental rates[3].


The role of the teacher as a guide rather than a direct instructor may be challenging to implement effectively[4]. Some critics argue that this approach may neglect explicit instruction needed for certain subjects or skills[5].

Comparison to Other Methods

Unlike traditional education where the teacher instructs the whole class, the Montessori teacher observes and guides individual students based on their unique needs and interests. This fosters a more personalized and student-centered learning experience[6].

Glossary of Montessori Terms

The Glossary of Montessori Terms is a collection of specific terms and vocabulary that are related to the Montessori method of education, primarily focusing on the theory and practice for children aged 3 to 6. The jargon used by Montessori educators offers a unique insight into child development as discussed by Maria Montessori. The 'Montepedia Glossary of Montessori Terms' originated from a glossary that was compiled by the late Annette Haines from the Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis, at the request of Molly O'Shaughnessy from the Montessori Centre of Minnesota. The reason behind the creation of this glossary was to supplement O'Shaughnessy's lecture at the Joint Annual Refresher Course that took place in Tampa, Florida, in February 2001.[7] The glossary has since been expanded and updated with additional 'Montessori Terms'.

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  1. Montessori, M. (1995). Absorbent mind. New York: Henry Holt.
  2. Lillard, A. S. (2017). Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. Oxford University Press.
  3. Lillard, A. S. (2017). Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. Oxford University Press.
  4. Rathunde, K. (2001). Montessori education and optimal experience: A framework for new research. The NAMTA journal, 26(1), 43-63.
  5. Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational psychologist, 41(2), 75-86.
  6. Montessori, M. (1995). Absorbent mind. New York: Henry Holt.
  7. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.