According to Benedicte Bossute, lead teacher at the Montessori Elementary School of Bowling Green, what is Montessori ?
Montessori is focused on functional independence such as potty training, holding onto things, washing hands, etc. Tasks build on one another as a student progresses. This requires close observation to see when a child is ready to attempt a new skill. Academics are insufficient to the whole child -- it's independence, concentration, capacity for sharing space, respecting other's space, etc.