I’ve always loved the Montessori approach to learning. My 3 year old goes to a local Montessori Nursery, as did his older brothers several years back. Their experience has been nothing but positive. Sure, Teresa who runs the little Montessori nursery deserves a lot of credit for being lovely 🙂 but I also think there is a lot we could all learn from Montessori - whether you believe in the standard education system or not.
For me, one of the things that I’ve been taking away from my reading and research into Montessori is the clear scientific approach to the Montessori child led approach.
Maria Montessori spent many years observing children and creating activities, tools/equipment and theories of why and how children learn best. Her approach has always been scientific - always looking to explain and prove her findings. Though I’m no expert, it feels clear to me that her motivation was for the child. To help children learn with desire and purpose to then become capable and confident adults. She was not motivated by money. Or by creating a system or company to dominate the education world. Or by proving intelligence through tests. Her focus was the child - understanding how they work from many angles of life and as a result creating things that would benefit their growth, when they are ready and prepared for it.
I take a lot of ideas from the Montessori approach and apply them to our unschooling environment. To me, many of the Montessori activities that have been designed just make sense. I can and have seen why they work. And this is what gives me confidence in the Montessori approach.
I’ve become quite a practical and scientific led person over the years. Montessori went to great extents to prove her findings scientifically. There is nothing like that for the current education system. This is a big part of why I’ve lost any confidence in the school system.
The comparison of Montessori & unschooling with the current schooling system will inevitably be mentioned here! Those of us who homeschool are most likely well aware of the origins of schools - they were never created with the child in mind. There was probably no research into how children learn best. The focus was to churn obedience out children in an organised way. As far as I am aware, there is no research and proof that the current education system works well. There are endless attempts to prove effectiveness through tests, and more tests. But really, do tests really prove that at student is a well rounded, capable, independent and content child? Test may be able to prove certain things that a child is capable of doing, but it is purpose is to prove the capability of one single area of a child and ignoring the rest.
I never wanted to send my kids to school. There was always something tugging at my heart strings that made it feel wrong. I knew I could homeschool from the beginning, but didn’t. We’ve had some horrible school experiences, but there were also some positive ones. But in the end, the positives of homeschooling won.
My purpose here, really is not to have a go at the current education system, it’s more a reflection of mine. A validation of the decisions we have made as a family. I feel confident and content that our energies are being spent on focusing on our children in an unschooling, child led and Montessori way. We’ve been doing this 2 years now and I feel it is right to invest our time and energy this way.
How could I send them into a school system that I don’t believe works? Never say never(!)… I could now never send my kids into a school or an education system which has not been specifically designed to create content, confident and capable children.
There is no science behind the education system.