Myths are just myths
Many Myths exist around the philosophy of Montessori which constantly surprise us. These come from many sources including well meaning adults who misunderstand the nuances of Montessori, unqualified internet articles and often times well-meaning health professionals. It becomes apparent from parent and visitor’s questions when they ask if we are a school where children are allowed to do what they want or an alternative school choice for children that cannot cope with traditional schooling, that these myths still permeate.
Busting the Myths
To bust these myths, we often encouraging parents to observe in a Montessori classroom to see for themselves. This is important for many reasons: parents become more aware of how their child performs in this environment; they understand the significance of providing an environment that meets developmental needs and most of all, they come to witness a Montessori Prepared Environment. The comments we receive after an observation are very similar. “The children appear to be fully engaged without the adult directing them”, “There is such a sense of individual exploration”, “The children appear to be so happy”, “The children are all working”, “There is a real sense of peace in the room”. Other comments are directed to the way the adult manages the children, such as “How does the teacher know where each student is academically?”, “How does the teacher prepare individual lessons with three age groups in the same room?” How do adults assess children and do they assess them at all?
What parents do not expect is that Caboolture Montessori School like many Montessori schools is an environment that fosters learning and places great expectations on the children to perform academically at their best. Yes it is an alternative schooling practice and yes the curriculum is student-centric however, we seldom enroll children in older classes (Cycle 2 and Cycle 3) because in our experience the learning style is so different to what they have become accustomed to that many children do not cope with the rigour which their peers would have been practicing since toddlers. It is a place where children show independent thinking by making the appropriate work choices. Children are responsible to complete their work often without adult direction, once they are given initial guidance. They therefore need to be able to self-direct and self-manage. Students are expected to extend their learning through their own choices and adult suggestions. Accountability and rigour is always present and it is not unusual to plan with students a term’s work schedule and for them to then become instrumental in organising this according to own capability and need. Our children have different capabilities and are all treasured for their contributions.
Children are generally in the same class for three years and adults learn to understand and know each individual, their abilities, likes and dislikes. Class Directors/Teachers are highly qualified and are supported by three additional years of training post graduation. They are continuous learners themselves and have high expectations of self and their students. They provide the keys to many doors unknown to children and then allow exploration to take place.
Montessori students work in an environment where each student is often working on different subject items to their peers. Focus and engagement are vital for Montessori children to accomplish the ‘Big Work’ during our Three Hour Work Cycle and this is learned and practiced every day. A Montessori classroom is a place where children:
- Make choices with support from adult guidance
- Are responsible to complete their daily/weekly and often term work by organising their time
- Are respectful at all times with self, others and the environment
- Work with engagement and focus and are held accountable
- Achieve highly as they are responsible for own outcomes
- Complete willingly tasks recommended by the adults
- Love extending their learning and look for more work
The environment is not:
- A place where children can do what they want when they want
- A ‘Hippie’ school (note: not our descriptor and we love people with lateral thinking ideas!)
- A cult with strong prescriptive ideas
- A magic space that ‘fixes’ children
- A school for children with specific needs or abilities
The Caboolture Montessori School is a school with strong principles and values. Our Montessori curriculum aligns and (and we think!) surpasses the National Australian Curriculum. We foster and encourage children to achieve highly in all their work. The Montessori curriculum is highly academic and comes with clear outcomes as staff prepare their lessons with rigour and high expectations. Teaching staff display daily passion, excitement and care for their children.
Myths do not have a place at our school even if often we think it is magical place due to the results and behaviours we see daily. We love our school and the philosophy of Montessori, even if it is often misunderstood due to myths.
Come and visit and see for yourself. Join our next School Tour or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Caboolture Montessori School