Monthly Archives: May 2016

Le Maitre Est L’Enfant: A French Montessori Documentary

You probably know about the Montessori documentary in the works, Building the Pink Tower—maybe because you read about it on The Montessori Observer here or here, more recently on MontessoriPublic, or on Facebook, or on BPT’s own website, or via their new Indiegogo campaign.

But did you know about the other Montessori documentary in the works, in French, featuring French primary children, speaking adorable French?!  I know this betrays an American parochialism, and an exoticizing obsession with cute kids speaking languages other than English, but I think you’ll agree that this is la Montessori la plus mignonne that you will see today:

But cuteness aside, like Building the Pink Tower, Le Maitre Est L’Enfant (The Child is the Teacher) is serious business.  The director, Alexandre Mourot, is a a Montessori parent and documentary filmmaker who, like so many others, fell in love with Montessori in his child’s classroom. He started researching in 2014, filming in 2015, and during the summer of 2015 began an AMI 3-6 training course.  Filming is now complete, and after self-funding the process up to now, Mourot has  launched a crowd-funding effort for post-production and distribution.  The campaign bas blown past its first two goals of 50,000 and 100,000 Euros, and is headed for its stretch goal of 160,000, which would allow translation into English and Spanish and foreign distribution.

And the Montessori? The classroom featured in the film, at L’Ecole Montessori de Roubaix, a Dominican school in Roubaix (a declining industrial suburb of Lille in the north of France), is led by veteran guide Christian Maréchal, who trained with the Dominican sisters in 1992 and took an AMI Primary diploma in 2000.  In 2012, he entered the AMI Primary Training of Trainers program, to become a trainer of new AMI teachers.  So it’s probably pretty solid

I spoke to Vina Kay and Jan Selby of BPT about the film.  They hadn’t heard of it, but they said they didn’t feel threatened by another documentary, even one with adorable French children.  “I don’t thin the problem is too much communication about Montessori”, Kay told me.  “The more, the merrier.”

Jane (Wife of Bernie) Sanders Mentions Montessori

Jane Sanders, formerly President of Burlington College, currently with the Vermont Economic Development Authority, and spouse of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, briefly name-checked Montessori this week in a conversation with education wunderkind Nikhil Goyal.

Goyal is a 21-year old education writer and advocate for progressive education with two books to his name: One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School, written when he was just 17 and still in high school, and Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice, out this year.  In an interview with Sanders, he brought up Montessori:

Goyal: Who do you think are some of your most influential heroes in education? Who are the people you’ve most been inspired by in your scholarly work?

Sanders: [John] Dewey, [William Heard] Kilpatrick, Robert Coles. One of the things I like are the people who focus on philosophy as the underpinning of their work.

Goyal: People like Maria Montessori, Dewey, Rudolf Steiner.

Sanders: I was a strong supporter of Montessori when my kids were very little. I homeschooled for a year, and then we did public school all the way through for the kids.

So there you have it.  Sanders’ three adult children are from her first marriage, they aren’t public figures, and we don’t know much more about their education (not that we should). But it sounds like she got them off to a good start.