Across the U.S., there are approximately 200,000 early education facilities including childcare centers, preschools, learning centers, day care centers, in-home centers, church-based centers………AND there are about 4,000 Montessori Schools. If you talk with anyone who believes in the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori you will quickly understand that this person believes without reservation that Montessori is the greatest teaching / learning method ever devised. This desire to believe in an ideal, nearly universal educational learning method is understandable and especially important in light of the routinely dismal results being produced in most of our public school system.
The first and most important accomplishment of Montessori is that it recognizes the obvious—Children learn in different ways and at different speeds. This certainly shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone today or 100 years ago in the early years of Montessori learning. While much of our public school system operates like an assembly line, there are a handful of these very special places where children get a start that can be no less than the lottery ticket of early education. I am not suggesting that children can’t get a great education without Montessori; however, the child that enters elementary school with confidence and the enjoyment of learning will be miles ahead of the masses.
The second major accomplishment of Montessori is the creation of an environment that nurtures a child so that child has the greatest odds of success in school and in the world beyond school. While Montessori sets boundaries for children, it allows a child make conscious decisions about what will be learned. The child is driven by personal curiosity instead of the perfunctory rigors of repetition. Children become seekers of information instead of just the processors. When a child makes a mistake, he can review and learn from the mistake in an environment where mistakes aren’t wrong. Mistakes are just a very normal part of the learning process.
When a child enters the relatively large school classroom, there are many factors that interrupt the learning process. Many children without the necessary attention early in the education process will be lost to these distractions. Children can and do get through the entire public school system from first grade through high school graduation without ever reading an entire book and without learning to think all while receiving As and Bs. It happens. When a child learns how to learn instead of learning how to regurgitate memorized answers, everything becomes possible. The teaching methods, materials and environments utilized in the Montessori process are tools that teach children how to think and by extension how to become a better and more fulfilled human beings.
What are some things you like about Montessori?
Best to you….Brad Barnett, President BFS®
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