Order (Montessori)

From Montepedia

In Montessori education, Order is a fundamental principle that underpins the organization of the prepared environment.[1] Order exists on several levels. Physically, furniture is child-sized, attractive materials are displayed on low, open shelves, rugs and floor pillows define workspaces, and plants and animals add beauty and interest.

Psychological order is maintained through a logical arrangement of areas and materials, which are displayed from left to right and top to bottom in increasing order of complexity. Social order is achieved through community rules such as taking turns to speak, sharing materials, and cleaning up at the end of the work cycle. Montessori classrooms strive to be harmonious communities of children and adults working together.

Montessori Quotes

  • "An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child's energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery."[2]
  • "The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences."[3]

Research and Critiques

  • Pros: Research supports the Montessori principle of order, suggesting that orderly and predictable environments support children's cognitive and emotional development, promote a sense of safety and security, and facilitate learning.[4]
  • Cons: Critics argue that while order is important, too rigid an adherence to it may limit creativity, spontaneity, and flexibility. Some children may thrive in less structured environments and may require more flexibility in their learning spaces.[5]

Comparisons to Other Methods

While all educational approaches emphasize some degree of order, Montessori education is unique in its comprehensive application of order on physical, psychological, and social levels, reflecting Maria Montessori's belief in the child's need for an orderly environment to explore, understand, and develop.[6]

See Also


  1. Montessori, M. (1966). The Secret of Childhood. Ballantine Books.
  2. Montessori, M. (1912). The Montessori Method. Frederick A. Stokes Company.
  3. Montessori, M. (1949). The Absorbent Mind. Clio Press.
  4. Lillard, A. (2017). Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. Oxford University Press.
  5. Egan, K. (2002). Getting it wrong from the beginning: Our progressivist inheritance from Herbert Spencer, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget. Yale University Press.
  6. Mooney, C. (2013). Theories of Childhood, Second Edition: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky. Redleaf Press.