I once visited an atrium. That's a true Montessori -style classroom, in which the lessons are prepared in advance so that the students, with very little input from the teacher, can work on the learning task of their choice.
Maria Montessori had beautiful understanding of the nature and dignity of children. She said, "the manner in which we touch and move a child, and the delicacy of feeling which should inspire us at the time, makes us think of the gestures that a priest makes at the altar. His hads are purified, his motions are studied and thoughtful, and his actions take place in silence. . .A feeling of hope and elevation pervades the sacred place. It is in surroundings such as these that a newb orn child should live" The teacher in the atrium spoke in a near whisper, and about twenty children of varying ages were incredibly attentive. They played with the Mass kit, consisting of a tiny altar, candles, chalice, and purificator. They made collage charts about the colors of the priests' vestments according to the liturgical calendar. And, they learned all this because THEY were interested. I was impressed, and took this woman's training course.
I have recently enjoyed reading "Natural Structure: A M ontessori Approach to Classical Education at Home" by Edward and Nancy Walsh. I has been most helpful while I set up a cooperative nursery school for homeschool preschoolers, and for activities at home to help Christina learn painlessly.
She is quite strong willed, but will stay engaged for long periods in an activity of her choosing. She is a sensory-kinetic learner, as you can see, and forgot that I was photographing her.
The book, available from Catholic Heritage Curricula www.chcweb.com has many useful photos of learning trays, where lessons are arranged by subject, such as cutting, magnets, or, in Christina's case, transferring.