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Why Montessori? A CommuniTEA Recap
Categories: Primary / Spotlight on Our Teachers / The Montessori Difference

At a CommuniTEA in March, Mrs. Rogers and attending parents discussed possible answers to the question, “Why Montessori?”  The following are her introductory remarks.  Over the course of the next several weeks, we will share her expanded thoughts and stories from her classroom in each area mentioned.


 

Jennifer Rogers:

Why Montessori?

 

Preaching to the choir

A persuasive tone in speech and writing lends an urgent and important feeling to any topic.   Then again, talking or writing persuasively about the benefits of a Montessori education before an audience of parents whose children are thriving in Montessori classrooms is a little silly. Parents who attend school meetings and read blog posts are among the best.  They are typically people who are already thoughtfully engaged in education and parenting.  

 

At every parent meeting, teachers look out into an audience of familiar faces.  We notice that the same people also volunteer, ask honest questions in parent-teacher conferences, participate in fund-raisers, and arrive at school on time.  We look for their faces in our audiences because the smiles are reassuring, and also because we know our words will make an immediate and lasting difference in the lives of their children.  It’s a grand exchange, but asking “Why Montessori?” is a risk. Redundancy is boring, and smart people do not like to be bored.

 

My response to the “Why Montessori?” question is not detailed or exhaustive.   It is a broad-strokes personal narrative, loaded with opinions formed in more than two decades of teaching.  The arrangements of space, time, and people that I consider essential to an authentic Montessori education are not doctrinal.  Others would answer the same question differently, but accurately.
I could easily add to the following list, but I could not take anything away. 

  • Diversity: A kaeleidoscopic array of ethnic, religous, socio-economic backgrounds, as well as a span of ages form our classroom communities.
  • Prepared Environment: Montessori classrooms are as different as the teachers who tend them, but they evince an attention to order and beauty and a consistent goal for independent children.
  • Purposeful Work: A strong mind, paired with strong hands, leading to optimum development of a child’s intelligence.
  • Skilled Leadership: Montessori teachers should be experts in the abstract principals and concrete materials that structure the life of a classroom.
  • Silence: Montessori communities are characterized by a quiet hum of children at work, moving and talking together about subjects that demaind their undivided, uninterrupted attention.

Please check back in the coming days to see more of Mrs. Rogers’s thoughts on each of these areas of “why Montessori” is the best foundation for your child.

 

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