Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] On mathematics...

From: Karen Locke <>
Date: Tue Dec 7 19:06:01 2004


I've only been to a few Montessori schools, but I think they have a big thing about orderliness. You take out all these materials, but you need to put them back properly. Thus, the teacher needed to "explain" that to the kids, model it, etc. before they could do it. In fact, I once heard an explanation that Montessori's purpose was to bring order to the "wild" Italian personality, and Steiner's purpose was to bring creativity to stolid Germans. I always privately thought that perhaps Sudbury's purpose was then to bring democracy to American children. I can dream, can't I?

I'm not sure how I feel about Montessori schools. I think sometimes they can be anal -you have to completely do all the "explorations", etc. I'd investigate and try to visit during the day and see how free children really were.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Richard Berlin
  Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 4:46 PM
  Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] On mathematics...

  On Dec 6, 2004, at 5:47 PM, (I think it was Carol Hughes, quoted by wmvh) who wrote:

    I once visited a Montesorri school with a friend of mine and my three year old in tow. When we went into the classroom my son picked up a couple of the neat looking Montesorri things. The teacher quietly took them from him and put them back. So, from that one gesture I advised my friend to look again carefully. Have you read Maria Montesorri's biography? Some of the things teachers are doing in these schools would absolutely cause her to "turn over in her grave".

  My wife *loved* her Montessori experience as a small child. Since she felt nurtured rather than harmed by that experience (in contrast to her later schooling) I am trying to keep an open mind...but last night my son and I visited a local Montessori school and had a somewhat similar experience to the above.

  One difference is that this teacher did not take her things back in silence. What she said to my child was "That's breakable; when you come back for your visit I'll show you how to use it and then I'm happy for you to play with it." This seems completely analogous to requiring certification in order to use certain things in a Sudbury school. So I'm trying to figure out why I felt offended.

  Perhaps it had something to do with the implication that my child might break something. That's not rational, however; in fact I am working on helping him understand why it's wrong to promise me that he won't make an accidental mistake. More likely, it relates to the fact that children were invited to the open house, yet no appropriate activities were provided for them, leaving me as parent in an awkward bind. (Is this common practice at Montessori open houses?)

  Pardon my ramblings. Any and all insights welcome....

  -- Rich
Received on Tue Dec 07 2004 - 19:05:08 EST

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