Montessori – the Education for the 21st Century
with a 100-Year-Tradition
The shift in (education) goal doesn’t require years of research or armies of consultants or vast funding. It doesn’t involve reinventing the wheel. Thousands of Montessori schools have been on this track for many years, with extraordinary results.”
– Steve Denning, “The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education,” Forbes Magazine, September 2011Our society has changed over the last several decades. We have moved from an industrial-based economy to an information-based economy. Yet, our education system has not changed to meet the demands of this new economy; the format and curriculum remain very much the same as when it was created during the Industrial Revolution.
But with the recent rapid changes in technology, the ever-increasing need for a change in how we educate our children has become more apparent and the education reform movement becoming stronger and more vocal. “21st Century Education,” the education reform movement dominating today’s headlines, is focused on going beyond the “three Rs” of traditional education towards a more skill-based curriculum.
Google the phrase “21st Century Education” and you’ll find partnerships, organization, foundations, blogs and articles all advocating a reinvention of curriculum and teaching methods at both public and private schools.
But you’ll find no such changes at Montessori School. Why? Because the 21st Century Education buzzwords – creativity and innovation; collaboration; critical thinking and problem-solving; and character – have been the foundation of Montessori education for over 100 years.
In a Montessori classroom children are given the freedom to follow their interests, to go deep into a topic that piques their curiosity, and learn at their own pace. Because there are no grades and no tests, children can dive into the curriculum without the fear of failure. Children who are allowed to learn from mistakes, rather than being punished for mistakes (bad grades, etc.) become teenagers and adults who aren’t afraid to try, to innovate, to imagine, to change the world.
Montessori education is based on the idea that children want to learn, it’s a natural instinct. Children receive an intrinsic reward from learning
Traditional education is based on the idea that you have to offer extrinsic rewards (good grades, gold stars) to make children learn or punishments (bad grades, detention, extra homework) if they don’t learn.
A Montessori classroom is a place of joyful learning like no other. A classroom where every child, from age 18 months to 14 years, has the opportunity to transform the 21st Century.
Quote from 2013 Arbor Adolescent Program Student’s Graduation Speech:
The Montessori Method of teaching has a way of feeding the students’ inner flame which drives the need for knowledge inside the child. It works through the students’ natural desire to learn, as opposed to pushing them to learn, which may extinguish that flame.
It has taught us about being in a community, and at the same time being independent. We have learned how to take direction, give direction, follow, and lead. How to problem solve, and to never limit our creativity. We have learned that it’s ok to make mistakes and that everyone does it, but the important thing is to learn from them, make adjustments, and try again. Being here has shown us how to be ourselves and be independent, but at the same time that having people to guide you, love you and be there to catch you when you fall is key if you want to fly.”