[Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: Montessori

From: Julianne Madrid <huli_madrid_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Thu Dec 9 08:55:00 2004

I teach at a Montessori school, though I'm a specialist (Spanish), not a Montessori-trained teacher. I agree that there are many variations of Maria Montessori's philosophy being implemented in Montessori schools today.

Regarding restricting exploration of materials, I have a Spanish curriculum that students work on (matching pictures to labels and doing questions and answers) and I tell them to only work independently on the lessons I have already given them. The reason I do this is that they will use their English phonics skills to learn the words the wrong way. For example, the word for foot in Spanish is "el pie," but is pronounced, el pee-ay. Unlearning the wrong pronunciation is very difficult, I think. However, if the student was gung-ho about exploring the materials, there really isn't much I could do to stop him/her since they are at his/her disposal. If I felt that the student was damaging the materials, I would definitely intervene because the materials belong to the community.

Just my two cents,


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

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Received on Thu Dec 09 2004 - 08:54:55 EST

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