Edition 5 | September 2018

Who's the Customer in Education?

Denice with students

Denice Scala, CEO

Denice Scala“I’ve always felt that there’s a certain kind of important pioneering that goes on from an inventor like Thomas Edison, and that discovery mentality is precisely the environment that Montessori seeks to create.” Jeff Bezos.

Bezos, the Amazon founder and Montessorian has pledged $2 billion towards creating a network of new, non-profit, tier-one Montessori preschools in low-income communities. Key to his approach is the concept of the child being the customer.

Read Jeff Bezos' full statement.

There is something very compelling about the idea of children being the customers in education. Schools should be places of discovery, places where new knowledge is created, places where learning is ignited and places where children lead their own learning.

Montessori schools are leading the way in the creation of cultures where children are in the driving seat of their own learning. In this edition of InFocus, we’ve chosen to explore the connection between the hand and the mind to demonstrate the power of practical, hands on learning in shaping thinking. Not only is learning like this intensely satisfying, it is immensely successful in firing neurons and developing pathways in the brain.

It has always amazed me in schools that as the concepts become more abstract, we remove the very materials that would help to grow understanding. Thankfully this doesn’t happen in Montessori schools. This is yet another plus of Montessori classrooms, the materials. Add this to the mixed-age classroom, an environment that is always carefully thought out with order and control for the children and an incredibly well qualified educator and its choreography is magic. There is no broadcasting by a teacher out the front because the materials enable students to use their hands rather than direct instruction and they allow a child to discover things step by step and to self-correct along the way. This is what education refers to as ‘constructivism’. It’s an approach that puts creativity, invention, discovery and making meaning front and centre.

Now that’s what we call an education for today’s ever changing world and it’s happening every day here and now at Forestville Montessori school.

Help us train more Montessori teachers

In Australia, we face one perpetual problem when it comes to growing Montessori education; there’s a limited supply of AMI qualified educators. This is why FMS is very excited to be supporting the initiative of ISMS in launching a new training centre in 2019. Please help us to spread the word far and wide to existing teachers, new teachers and parents who might like to become Montessori educators.

Find out more about the courses on offer.

Thriving Beyond

There’s way too much unnecessary gloom and doom by politicians and in the media about education. The children I encounter every day are passionate about their learning and have amazing hopes for the future. Never a day goes by when I don’t have a visit from one of our students who has an idea for a project, a plan for improvement or who wants to share a story from their day.

We want to celebrate joyful scholars who embrace independence, responsibility and self-discipline.

We want to guide our students to take their place in the world as mentors and leaders of the future.

It’s time we all called out the prevailing narrative of gloom and doom about education. Generosity of spirit is alive and well in our students. Let’s shift the debate to one of demonstrating how our students are thriving beyond………

 

Observation is everyday practice for anyone who wants to see for
themselves the benefits of a truly genuine Montessori education.
Come for an observation, you’ll be amazed.

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