Absorbent Mind: The mental capacity of the young child to learn and assimilate effortlessly and unconsciously the sensations and information from the world around him.
Abstraction: The act of drawing conclusions, conceptualizing, synthesizing or imagining from experiences in the real world.
Auto-education: Self-teaching and self-learning through the use of the didactic materials, objects and activities within the Montessori environment.
Control of Error: Features of the learning material (or activity) which allows the child to detect if mistakes or errors have been made.
Cosmic Education: A learning approach that offers a holistic view of human culture and knowledge. Montessori promotes an awareness of the connections so that the child develops himself as a total being.
Cycles of Activity: Long periods of concentration on a particular task that the child feels internally compelled to complete.
Directress: Referred to as the "teacher" in traditional schools. The role of the Directress is to observe each child and, using their current interests, guide them to appropriate activities and materials.
Extensions: An extension lesson uses familiar concepts and materials to teach new, usually more complex or abstract, concepts or skills.
Freedom: The child's free movements and experiences in an environment that provides discipline through liberty and respect for his rights.
Independence: The ability to be self-reliant and to be free from needing others. It is through independence that freedom is experienced.
Indirect Preparation: The secondary aim of an exercise or activity that will lead to future success in learning another skill. Example - the knobbed cylinders. The direct preparation of the knobbed cylinders is development of the pincer grasp. The indirect preparation is development of the hand for handwriting.
Isolation of Difficulty: Separating a particular skill or concept so that it is the main focus and may be mastered.
Logical Consequence: Consequences that are arranged when natural consequences cannot be used, or do not exist. Example - A child who is disrupting the works of others may be asked to work at an individual table.
Mathematical Mind: The mental capacity of human beings to organize and categorize impressions and experiences. The mathematical mind has an impulse to produce order out of disorder.
Natural Consequence: The results or repercussions of an individual's (or group's) behavior that occurs without the interference of another individual. Example -
Normalization: The process of adaptation and adjustment that results in a joyful, thriving, self-disciplined child or group.