Montessori Mentions (This Is Not About Vaccination)

A couple of “Montessori mentions” in the mainstream media this week. Warning: discussion of vaccinations ahead. This post is not about vaccination and, for the record, Montessori does not take an official position on the subject (although, generally speaking, we believe in science).

With that out of the way: First, from Tuesday, an “info-for-parents” piece in US News and World Report’s Money section, “Can I Afford to Send My Child to Private School?”. It’s a light overview of private school options for the general public, but there’s Montessori, right after religious schools and before Waldorf, as if it’s something you’ve probably heard of. Here’s what the general public is hearing about Montessori:

Montessori schools are famed for fostering environments in which children become independent learners and problem-solvers.

Which is not bad for a one-liner. There’s nice quote and a reference to the North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA) tuition survey (from 2009). Bonus points for the mention of public programs on the second page.

Next, on Thursday, in the Atlantic, in How Schools Are Dealing With Anti-Vaccine Parents, 2300 words about The Children’s House in Traverse City, Michigan, is handling un-vaccinated children. Again, the school is introduced as “one private Montessori school” with no further explanation: of course you’ve heard of that. The article is a sensitive treatment of how The Children’s House, as a private school, worked to balance children’s safety, public health, and parent concerns on both sides of this divisive issue. But some Montessori nuggets come along the way. “Montessori encourages children to ask questions, to seek out information,” says one parent. Further down, we’re told:

The idea behind Montessori schools is that they’re meant to mirror “the real world,” where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages. Mixed-age classrooms are one of the hallmarks of the Montessori teaching method, which means that infants, kindergarteners, and adolescents come into contact throughout the school day.

Which isn’t quite the core of Montessori, but, hey, mom, we’re in the paper! Maybe they’ll spell our name right next time.

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