The Power of Hands-on Learning in Montessori Education

This article is an answer to your questions about Hands-On Learning for students in Montessori education: “What is it?”, “Does it work for everyone?”, and “Why is it important?”


When you were a child, your teacher would stand near a black- or whiteboard speaking to you, and you would memorize facts or attentively look at and listen to your instructor.This kind of educational approach follows the “one-size-fits-all” model wherein teachers teach the students with the same teaching styles even though different students learn in different ways.
We know that all students are not the same, which is why students should have the responsibility and freedom to learn through real experience (rather than through simply listening to somebody else).
Hands-on learning is a form of experiential learning. Read on this blog to explore more about Hands-On Learning for students in Montessori education.

1. What is Hands-on Learning?

If you walk into a Montessori classroom, you will immediately notice that children are engaged in a wide variety of activities, and the teacher moves around the classroom to observe and work with them individually. Children rarely use paper or pencils; instead, they learn by touching, feeling and doing. They choose their favorite activity, bring it to a table or mat, explore the materials and make discoveries for themselves. This educational method is called “Hands-on Learning”, which directly involves the learner by encouraging them to do something to learn about it. In a nutshell, it is “learning by doing”.

2. Does Hands-on Learning Work for Everyone?

Hands-on learning is uniquely positioned to support any type of learner. Students have their own specific needs when it comes to their personal learning styles. Children that prefer to listen in order to learn can hear the instructor and follow along. Others that prefer to see things done can watch the instructor and then duplicate the steps themselves. Because the more that students immerse themselves in their education and get engaged with their hands and minds, the more they will be focused and motivated to learn. This is where hands-on learning truly comes into play.

3. Why is Hands-on Learning Important?

Many people think that doing something is the best way to learn it, rather than attempting to learn it only by reading a textbook. No matter how many books you read about cycling, you still need to get outside to learn how to ride a bicycle; otherwise, you will fall off the first time you try!
Therefore; Hands-on learning is powerful because children are learning with touch and texture, feelings and scents as well. These experiences register in more parts of the brain and act as bookmarks, giving the students’ minds more “anchors” to tie the memory to and recall the learning when needed. While notes can be copied down incorrectly, the thread of learning can get buried under a teacher who talks too quickly or a poorly-written textbook.

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Entrance door of Guide Academy Montessori private school, inviting students to embark on a journey of education and exploration.
Going into a new school can be a rewarding but frightening experience