In the wake of the enthusiasm for the end of the No Child Left Behind era—the ridiculous reform of Bush’s presidency based on a “teaching to the test” mentality—I was thinking about Montessori schools and how much more natural and logic their method is.
This video (scroll up :-) was one of the first videos I saw when I started studying (and appreciating) the Montessori school method, before even thinking of bringing it into my house.
Honestly, I wasn’t impressed only by the fact that everything in the classroom in within reach of the child because there’s nothing they can’t touch, take, smell, experience. Nor by the fact that children are tiny adults when they step into a Montessori classroom—they prepare their own snack, make tea, cut fruit, wash their hands, tie their shoes. Thanks to Maria Montessori’s hard work and the inheritance she left us, many nurseries and schools are like this today.
What really impressed me was the educational method. Imagine a school where children can pick their activity—somebody will study the human body, somebody will prefer to read a book about Mexico, somebody will choose music, art or maths—as long as they stick with it for at least an hour. A school where there are no age groups, because older children help younger ones, and competition turns into collaboration. Where you don’t teach abstract concepts, but you let children experience life hands-on with concrete materials. A school where teachers are only guides, helping (not forcing) children throughout the natural process of education. Where there are no rewards nor punishments, because self-discipline and self-motivation are the real goals.
“Education is not something the teacher does, but it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.
This school exists and Maria Montessori showed it to us long time ago. Too bad too often brilliant minds are not understood, sometimes even rejected fort thinking differently. Growing and evolving doesn’t always mean to come up with something new, something that has never been seen before—like educational reforms tend to do. Sometimes, it’s enough to just look back at what past teachers have accomplished and learn from them.
Did you know Montessori schools? Are there any in your city?