Monday, February 2, 2015

Why Montessori?



Why Montessori?  


Why Montessori?  At the recent annual Heads of School gathering, I had the opportunity to think about and answer this question.  I listened to a book lecture on ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek. The point of the book, as the title gives away, is that whatever your business, what matters is why you do what you do.  That is central to the what and how.  The book is an inspiring read and made clear for me that in Montessori schools, we are one giant leap ahead of traditional independent schools.  Why?  Because our method is based on a philosophy; we solidly know why we do what we do.  Our beliefs about children and education are steadfast and grounded in a passion and knowledge that ensures we stay true to who we are despite the cyclical trends in education.  Of course, we also know how we do what we do and we know what we do.  Pretty simple, right?  Yet communicating those three important elements to parents and prospective families can sometimes feel daunting.


The last two months the school has been doing just that.  We have hosted several Insight Tours, Round Table discussions, and Open Houses.  As new Head of School, I find I am getting better, personally, at honing my message as to ‘Why a Montessori Education?’ to reflect the perspective of inquiring parents.  I’m happy to say the passion and belief I hold for the middle school, having led that program for two decades, is equally strong for the infant through elementary levels.  Getting a bird’s eye view of the school and then being able to swoop in for a close look at each level has solidified my belief and trust in a Montessori education.


Can we keep developing and learning as a school?  Always!  But you know what?  We have the most important part down pat - why?  In the workshop I attended, we were challenged to answer our ‘why’ in ten simple statements or less.  In this month of passion (Valentine’s Day) and enrollment renewals (letters to go out Feb.11th!) I share my list with you below, along with five links that support the Montessori method of education.  


Why Montessori?


  1. The Montessori method is based on how children learn naturally.
  2. We believe it is our job to ignite a love of learning and keep it alive.
  3. We continue to incorporate best practices based on sound educational research.
  4. Our approach is in line with needed 21st Century skills.
  5. We develop the academic, social, moral, and spiritual self.
  6. We work to develop an intrinsic motivation and a sense of responsibility.
  7. Respect and grace and courtesy are central across programs and teachers.
  8. Educators are highly trained developmental specialists in addition to subject teachers.
  9. Practical life skills, such as conflict resolution, resiliency, and self-reliance are developed.
  10. Freedom of movement, choice, personalized and experiential learning are cornerstones.


Top 5 Research Articles Supporting the Montessori Method