Yesterday I attended the first planning meeting of the Center for Montessori Education in the Public Sector at the American Montessori Society’s offices downtown. The attendees represented a national cross-section of private and public school Montessori leaders who share the common goal of providing Montessori education to more children. We all believe that Montessori education is a viable option for education reform in the United States. Another interesting belief we all share is that in addition to educating students, Montessori education transforms families. Not only do the children benefit from their experience with Montessori, but parents, grandparents, and caregivers who take a role in parenting do too. The basic principals of Montessori philosophy are transferred from school to home providing the consistency that all young children need for healthy development. When this transformation happens perspectives and attitudes about how children learn are incorporated in everyday family activities. Parents set their pace and expectations to be more in tune with how learning takes place and how children are able do more for themselves on their journey to independence. Families enjoy meal times together and spend more time reading with their children.
Montessori claims that the child’s need for order is one of the most powerful incentives that dominates early life. Children do need assistance in creating order for their belongings. Parents assist this growth by providing low shelves for toys, low hooks for outerwear, a place designated for shoes, and tools for cleaning up within reach of small hands. These small additions to our homes makes family living enjoyable.