Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Montessori Madness

Laura Shaw wonders why nobody talks about Montessori when discussing school reform. Money quote:
Why is Montessori so effective? We know there is an indisputable link between movement and cognition, with the former actually enhancing the latter. We know that people of all ages need to feel a sense of control over their lives and that lack of control leads to depression and learned helplessness, which inhibits learning. We know from a huge body of research that extrinsic rewards and punishments don't work and can actually adversely affect intrinsic motivation. Research tells us all of these things, yet students at conventional schools are still confined to their desks, with rigidly scheduled days, receiving grades for every aspect of their learning and behavior. Is it any wonder that the public school district needs therapists?
To expand on this a bit, my kids have been in a Montessori day care/school  for a year now and I'm not only amazed at how they both thrive in that environment but also at how much more self reliant my 2 year old is than my older son was at that age. They both love the school, and I love the emphasis on self-determination and the combination of learning (Hunter's actually already doing fractions at age 5!) and life skills (they prepare food, clean windows, and learn how to take off and put on their own shoes). It's been such a pleasant experience, in fact, that I wish I had the funds to continue them in Montessori schools into the future - Hunter's moving into Kindergarten this fall and i'm wondering how he'll take to the transition.

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