Montessori Tools

Playbooks and digital tools to support implementation, assessment, and continuous improvement

Visual Thinking Strategies in Montessori Environments

What’s going on in this picture?

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a powerful, Montessori-aligned practice for fostering critical thinking and deep discussions with children and adults of all ages. Developed in the 1990s at the New York Museum of Modern Art and backed by research, VTS grew into much more than an art appreciation technique. Now used in schools, colleges and universities, science museums, the New York Times, and in many other projects, VTS begins within the simple question, “What’s going on in this picture?” and leads participants in a student-centered, open-ended discussion that emphasizes reflection, evidence, and clear communication skills. Visual Thinking Strategies in Montessori Environments is a detailed, step-by-step guide to the technique created with Montessori in mind. Readers will learn to work guide children from three to eighteen through the facilitated discussions of images and objects—discussions that will enrich children’s thinking and writing across all areas of the curriculum.

The Montessori Assessment Playbook

Measuring What Matters​

The Montessori Assessment Playbook is a strategy manual and collection of tools for implementing an assessment model grounded in Montessori and supporting human flourishing.

The Playbook contains 33 wide-scope assessment tools, including:

  • Essential Elements Rubric
  • Teacher, Assistant, and Executive Appraisal Instruments
  • Observing Work Engagement Forms (Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent)
  • Whole School and Teacher Reflective Practice Inventories
  • Transition Skills Checklists for Primary to Lower Elementary, Lower to Upper Elementary, and Upper Elementary to Adolescent

Developmental Environment Rating Scale (DERS)

Measuring what matters

The DERS is a classroom assessment tool which measures child and adult behaviors, and environmental attributes, associated with developmental outcomes such as  executive function, linguistic and cultural fluency, and social fluency and emotional flexibility.

Schools use the DERS to guide observation and support continuous improvement towards outcomes that matter.

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