Montessori and RTI (Response to Intervention)

    MONTESSORI AND RTI (Response To Intervention)

IDEA 2004 New Wording:

“In determining whether a child has a SLD (Special Learning Disabilities), a local education agency may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based interventions as part of the evaluation procedures . . .             Montessori is a scientific, research-based program that is diagnostic through the use of the didactic materials.

The Discrepancy Model:

The current discrepancy model of classification is no longer a valid or acceptable measure.  A Montessori environment provides ongoing assessment that gives the teacher and student immediate developmental feedback.  This feedback can be remediated and supported prior to internalizing incorrect information thus preventing learning gaps.

The current discrepancy model allows general education to keep providing a narrow range of instructional and behavioral options that do not meet the needs of all students.  In a Montessori classroom, the range of instruction and its impact on behavior is unlimited.  The classroom materials are designed to be developmentally appropriate, moving from concrete understanding to an abstract internalization of concepts.   Repetition and building on prior knowledge is a critical component of the Montessori Method.

The current discrepancy model often denies services to kids who need them the most.  The Montessori Method recognizes that children need time to develop.  Multi-age classrooms and developmentally appropriate materials support the issue of ‘time’ for children who are ineligible for support services in Special Education.

Montessori and the RTI (Response to Intervention) Model:

RTI refers to an individual, comprehensive student-centered assessment and intervention concept.  RTI is often referred to as a problem-solving method.  RTI models focus on applying a problem-solving framework to identify and address a student’s difficulties using effective, efficient instruction and leading the child to improved achievement.  Montessori speaks to RTI through its design.  Montessori’s on-going intervention and assessment strategies support students on a continual basis.

RTI can also be diagnostic, providing evidence that a student with significant learning delays may have a learning disability if he/she fails to catch up with peers despite well-implemented, research-based interventions.  Montessori can support RTI through the diagnostic and self-correcting materials.  Through constant and consistent observation, teachers can address areas of difficulty and intervene with support materials to increase understanding in specific areas.  Montessori record keeping and anecdotal records are of great importance in understanding the students and addressing their developmental, academic, and behavioral needs.

RTI is a multi-tiered, school-wide, service delivery model that combines assessment and instruction in making data-based decisions about a student’s progress by continually monitoring that progress.  Montessori assessment is on-going and consistent.  The didactic materials, record-keeping, and observation are part of everyday life in the classroom.

Main Focuses of RTI :

Early identification and early intervention – The Montessori curriculum begins at age 3 with a multi-age 3, 4, and 5 year old program.

A graduated series of increasingly intensive interventions guided by data-based decision making – The Montessori classroom is an increasingly intensive program based on concrete developmental skills that allow students to gain solid understanding of the curriculum.

Montessori addresses all four principles of RTI:

¶ Universal Screening – this is ongoing through the didactic materials and observation.

¶ Intervention – the didactic materials align to NYS curriculum and instructional levels; are provided ‘in the classroom’ and ‘by the classroom teacher’.

¶ Progress Monitoring – through on-going assessment and observation.

¶ Intervention Efficacy and Fidelity – the Montessori program is consistent from age 3 to 12.  The training is also consistent for all Montessori levels: 3 – 6 years, 6 – 9 years, and 9 -12 years.

RTI follows a Tiered Framework:

Tier 1 – Montessori protects the uninterrupted work cycle (2 to 2-1/2 hrs.); is a universal intervention; is facilitated by the classroom teacher.

Tier 2 (supplemental interventions) – Montessori allows for individual work with the Montessori trained staff.  The work is individualized or can be designed for small group.  The consistency of the teacher training program provides a strong link for the students as support staff receive the same training.

Tier 3 (intensive interventions) – Montessori provides the support for intense intervention by all trained Montessori staff.

In summary, Montessori will address the needs of students ages 3 through 12.  Through early intervention and the use of developmentally appropriate materials, students will gain a concrete understanding of the curricular areas as well as developing their fine and gross motor skills.  The consistency and repetition of the method supports the child’s development from the concrete stage to abstract understanding.  The sense of order and level of concentration developed by young child builds independence and a positive sense of self.

It should be noted that all levels of intervention outlined by RTI are integral to the everyday functioning of a Montessori classroom.  Teachers are trained to diagnose through the student’s use of the materials as well as design materials necessary to remediate, support, and reinforce concepts and understanding.

The Montessori Method addresses the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students.  Montessori is an education for life.