Montessori philosophy is based on the idea that curiosity, learning, and developmental progression are the inborn needs of children. Given the proper environment and guidance, youngsters will gravitate toward purposeful activity. Their learning environment must accommodate individual interests, needs, and learning styles.
Characteristics of a good Montessori environment include discovery through manipulatives and "real-life applications." This approach is far more effective than lecture-based learning or imitation because children need freedom of movement and choice. Students are taught that responsibility must accompany freedom, and they are responsible for completing assignments, maintaining order, and respecting the learning environment and rights of others. To assure a comfortable transition into subsequent educational environments, students are also exposed to study skills that are required in traditional educational settings, and Montessori materials are complemented by other carefully selected learning materials.