Denice Scala, CEO
Imagine a day where you enter a beautifully prepared environment with the materials you need ready for you to access. They’ve been intentionally chosen and carefully placed for you to collect when you need them. You are greeted by an educator who looks you in the eye, says your name, shakes your hand and asks “What are you ready to do today?” You reply based on all the planning from your journal that was scoped out previously and checked by your teacher, just like a project plan. You are also guided to check the noticeboard which lists all the lessons for that day and the times you are required to attend so you can plan your day, just like a diary. Small group or one-on-one lessons are scheduled throughout the day. The lessons have been designed and crafted meticulously based on every child’s needs.
Your teacher shows you the upmost respect in every way as you spend three full hours every morning concentrating on your tasks. You reenergise with a break for something to eat when you feel hungry. You might enjoy some fresh fruit from the kitchen area that was cut and prepared by some of the other children or take a break when you feel you need one.
There’s no broadcasting to the whole class. The environment is very calm and ordered but the buzz is amazing. It’s the buzz of minds highly engaged and in flow. Minds of multiple ages allowing the cross over of ideas and exchanges.
This is how learning is in a Montessori primary school.
This reality is so far from the myth. In a Montessori setting the children are given freedom but it is a structured freedom within limits. Rarely have I seen children so engrossed in their learning.
The pioneering nature of a Montessori education is not to be underestimated. It was never intended to be a gate holder of the status quo. Instead it was designed to make change for the betterment of all and for society. Many of the intractable problems encountered in mainstream education systems are not problems in Montessori schools. Today’s unrest with the standardisation of mainstream education gives rise to considering alternatives that are already in place to serve individual needs. Montessori schools are leading the way.
“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentials."
- Dr Maria Montessori