Since Montessori is a word in the public domain, it is possible for any individual or institution to claim to be Montessori. An authentic Montessori classroom must have the following basic characteristics at all levels:
1. A classroom atmosphere which encourages social interaction for cooperative learning, peer teaching, and emotional development.
2. A schedule which allows large blocks of time to problem-solve, to see connections in knowledge and to create new ideas.
3. A diverse set of Montessori materials, activities, and experiences which are designed to foster physical, intellectual, creative, social, and personal independence.
4. A partnership established with the family. The family is considered an integral part of the individual's total development.
5. Teachers educated in the Montessori philosophy and the methodology for the age level they are teaching, who have the ability and dedication to put the key concepts into practice.
6. A multi-aged, multi-graded heterogeneous grouping of students.