Montessori Happenings

How Does a Montessori Middle School Nurture Intrinsic Motivation - Montessori middle school - Flagstaff Montessori Cedar CampusA child’s innate curiosity is truly a gift, and it’s one that the Montessori Method holds in the highest regard. 

Intrinsic motivation is closely linked to curiosity and is displayed when a child takes action without being prompted by any type of external stimulus. In other words, the child is not so much rewarded for their actions as they are supported for their efforts as they learn to do things for themselves.

Supporting a child’s innate curiosity and encouraging its development while fueling the drive to explore is one of the main goals of Montessori middle school curricula. While curiosity is nurtured throughout middle school, this encouragement begins even before preschool.

Throughout the academic career of a Montessori middle school student, independence, concentration, and order are encouraged with the goal of developing a strong attention span and focus. Ultimately, the child will develop a lifetime love of learning and a positive outlook on their education.

The Montessori Method and Middle School Motivation

When a child discovers what sparks their intrinsic motivation — this can include any activities that meet their interests and needs — they enjoy learning. When learning is a satisfying, rewarding experience, the child will set their own goals and take it upon themselves to seek more knowledge. 

This is the basis of a child becoming a lifelong learner; at this point forward, they are never satisfied, always searching for more interesting things to satisfy their insatiable curiosity. 

How Intrinsic Motivation Is Built

Middle school children are able to take on new challenges and thrive in an environment at school and home that promotes curiosity, independence, autonomy, and intrinsic motivation. Students build this motivation by:

  • Being given the power of choice
  • Witnessing demonstrations about how to complete tasks
  • Trying things on their own (without interruption) after a demonstration
  • Engaging in community service
  • Being given clear expectations
  • Not being exposed to external punishments or rewards
  • Being given sincere feedback
  • Being allowed to work at their own pace
  • Learning how to gauge their own progress
  • Being given tasks that show visual improvement, like growing a garden

In Montessori middle school, each skill a student is introduced to builds on previously learned skills. The Montessori curriculum takes the interests of a middle school child and builds on them, so the child is guided along their own educational path that is created by their interests. 

Montessori Middle School vs. Conventional Middle School

This method stands in sharp contrast to conventional education, where a rigid, set curriculum is established that all children must follow regardless of their interests or level of motivation. Montessori education cultivates a student’s natural inclination to learn as they are free from overbearing, uninteresting external expectations. 

Conventional education often focuses too much on the end result; the grade is determined by whether they “know the bottom line” or not. However, Montessori education focuses on the process and encourages students to experiment, explore, and try new approaches. 

In Montessori middle schools, students can set some of their own goals and follow their own aspirations at a pace in which they can succeed. This fuels their intrinsic motivation. 

Montessori Middle School Curriculum and Intrinsic Motivation

The core of the Montessori approach to fostering and cultivating intrinsic motivation in middle school students is to begin with an engaging, open learning environment that challenges them and nurtures their curiosity. 

When children can fuel their independence with Montessori middle school curricula, they build self-confidence and a healthier sense of self-worth. Ultimately, they become motivated to learn and progress on their own accord — this is the heart of intrinsic motivation. 

Interested in Montessori Middle School?

Your middle school-aged child could benefit from the unique learning environment offered by Montessori School of Flagstaff. Contact us today to learn more!

Montessori Philosophy

Montessori PhilosophyThe Montessori Philosophy encourages children to develop their observation skills through activities that use the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and gross motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.


Arizona School Tax Credit

Arizona School Tax CreditThe 2015 Arizona School Tax Credit lets your donation go directly to a public school of your choice! A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax liability. Any Arizona taxpayer may contribute, regardless of whether your child is attending school.

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Enrichment Programs

Montessori Schools of Flagstaff Enrichment ProgramsTo meet the needs of working parents, we offer a before- and after-school program designed for children 18 months–12 years. The older children can sign up for the many special classes offered after school such as drama, art classes, and music lessons.

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