A commenter on Montessori in all but Name: Scientific American, from last month, had this to say:
Unfortunately, if you go and look at many of the Gifted forums..you will find that Montessori schools are in fact failing gifted children.
I was curious, so I did some quick Googling. It’s far from an exhaustive treatment of the subject, but here’s what I found:
- A long-running discussion on the topic at DavidsonGifted.org, with a range of opinions represented. It seems like there were more saying Montessori didn’t work for their child than not, but with some important qualifications.
- This at TheExaminer.com — a fairly positive article.
- This at familyeducation.com, which is mostly positive.
- This from CircleOfMoms.com and this from Mothering.com, which are both fairly positive.
The main points seem to be these:
- First, with any evaluation of Montessori, it’s important to remember that anyone can use the name, and “Montessori” in the school’s name is no guarantee of the practices within. Visit, observe, ask about training, see if it’s the right fit for your family.
- Many parents appreciated Montessori’s open-endedness, respect for child development, self-guided learning, and general philosophy.
- Some parents experienced rigidity and a blind adherence to particular ‘steps’ a child must go through in a curriculum area. Montessori teachers will understand what this is about, but good Montessori teachers who really understand what it means to ‘follow the child’ will know when to move more quickly. Repetition isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a requirement of children. It’s a behavior they exhibit when the work is meeting their developmental needs. If you’re not seeing repetition, there’s a reason, and it’s the teacher’s work to find activities which do inspire the concentration, engagement, and repetition we know is possible.
What has your experience been? Please, share your stories in the comments.