With the new school year beginning, and lots of new families joining the MSO community next week, I thought now might be a good time to introduce a few tenents central to Montessori educators. If you’ve visited other Montessori schools in the past or your children have attended Montessori schools in other parts of the state, country (or world!), you already know what I’m about to tell you: All Montessori schools are not made equal. We share an educational philosophy, true, but as with any philosophy, how we put our beliefs into practice vary from school to school.
There are, however, universal concepts for all Montessorians. If you attend the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in March, you’ll find that there is a common language. Practical Life is Practical Life is Practical Life. Any Montessori teacher will be able to tell you the importance observing her students plays in her job. If you ask her what the teacher’s goal is, she’ll probably trot out Dr. Montessori’s own quote:
The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’
All of this is to say that, while there are differences, there’s a thread of commonality, too. For the curious, for the not-so-curious, for those who simply stumble upon this blog by accident, I thought I could tackle some of those tenants of Montessori. Hopefully this will help demystify any terminology we teacher-types throw around and help you to understand what it is we do, and what Montessori schools bring to the table.
This week, I’ll be starting with a topic most teachers can relate to this time of year: The Prepared Environment. Many of us–and certainly those of us at MSO–are preparing for the students’ return next week. Preparing the environment is very much on our minds, so it’s particularly relevant. Here’s a smattering of further topics:
- Practical Life
- Teaching the Whole Child
- Mixed Age Classrooms
- The Sensitive Periods
- The Three-Period Lesson
- Concrete to Abstract
If you have any requests, I’d love to hear them: