While I was thinking about what I wanted to say in this post, I took a peak at what Jenny Luca had been writing recently, and ended up commenting about why I had chosen a Montessori education for my boys in their preschool years.
‘As far as what parents want for their children – I’ve just revisited the Montessori education online; watched a couple of videos. Both my sons had a preschool Montessori education before going mainstream in primary school. I love so much about Montessori, but the reason I chose it in the first place was because I looked at how young children naturally loved to learn and initiated their own learning, then I looked at the middle years students I was teaching – often disengaged with traditional classroom teaching – and I thought: something is not right. I desperately wanted my children NOT to lose touch with that fire within them that lit up so many areas of learning.
Yes, I care about whether they get the marks to enable them to go on with their tertiary learning, but more than this, I want them to be empowered, independent thinkers and lifelong learners, part of the local and global community, taking responsibility, solving problems, making decisions, caring about people and the environment, connecting with others.
If these ideals are at the base of our desire to integrate new technologies into teaching and learning, then we can honestly say that we use them as tools to enable new ways of lifting off the page of a textbook and into a global world of limitless possibilties and connection.’
Apart from an excellent core education with an integrated curriculum based on choice, Montessori educators prepare students for the world, firstly by giving them a context in the world (literally by showing 3 year olds where they are located on the world map) and giving them a firm sense of belonging on this earth. Then by instilling in them the belief that life has meaning and value, and that they need to value themselves, others and life itself; that their decisions are important, and that they will learn and develop from their mistakes. In this way education is empowering; it teaches children to live in a community, to build communities, to be part of a team. Montessori students develop into flexible, self disciplined, independent learners.
The next video, Joyful scholars – Montessori for the elementary years, asks the question of parents that I think begs deep thought –
‘What kind of child do you want at 18 years?’
Hopefully, the answer to that question would include something more than a student with a good ENTER score.
Have a look at a summary of the Montessori educational principles.
There are many points that are worth a closer look. For example,
The premises of a Montessori approach to teaching and learning include the following:
That children are capable of self-directed learning.
That it is critically important for the teacher to be an “observer” of the child instead of a lecturer.
Montessori or other type of education – let’s think personal, communal, global. Let’s think about preparing students for living in the 21st century.