Tag Archives: public

Make it Montessori

So this happened:

Make It Montessori

In January, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio announced a huge expansion for pre-K in NYC.  The Montessori Observer had a cynical take here, on the scale mismatch between New York’s 100,000 4-year-olds and an estimated 200,000 4-year-olds in Montessori schools in the rest of the country.

The Montessori Madmen cast cynicism aside and took up the challenge of leveraging this news for Montessori, launching an indiegogo campaign (now successfully closed) to fly the banner shown here over New York City for three hours on Friday, May 2nd.  The project got picked up on the New York Daily News politics blog and the Albany TimesUnion’s Capitol Confidential blog by reporter Annie Karni.

The a scale problem remains.  I imagine deBlasio looking out the window of his office, seeing the banner, and barking to his secretary, “Get me Montessori on line one!”  Who would he call, and what could we deliver?

But once again the Madmen network is getting results.  People in the New York Montessori world are contacting the Mayor’s office, and  a meeting with the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector and the folks at New York City Montessori Charter School is in the works.   

Contact info for the Mayor’s Office:

Online: http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/contact-the-mayor.page

By mail:

City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Phone:

311-NEW-YORK
212-NEW-YORK outside NYC 

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Gets A Taste of Montessori

The headline says it all: Governor Haley visited Coastal Montessori Charter School in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, as reported in the Coastal Observer.  It sounds like she got a pretty good picture of Montessori—the article mentions children working in mixed-age groups, at desks or on the floor, with large class sizes (“we like big classes”), using manipulatives that might have looked like games, and enjoying their work.  “The adult is not the center of attention; the work is.”

Coastal Montessori, like many public programs, is elementary-only, limited by state funding which doesn’t cover kindergarten or younger.  So it’s remarkable that they can have the quality of Montessori described in the article, and it show that it can be done.  Still, funding for Montessori Children’s House is an issue in many states.  Haley said she “”wouldn’t object” to it, but she didn’t make any promises.

The Governor’s visit  came about as part of Montessori Education Week, a project of South Carolina’s thriving South Carolina Montessori Alliance.  The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector’s Montessori Census lists 50 public programs in the Palmetto State, more than any other state listed.

Montessori: Autonomy and Choice With High-Poverty Students (This time ASCD Nails It)

Yesterday I wrote about a Montessori article in ASCD’s Education Update magazine, and I mentioned a post on ASCD’s In Service blog. It’s a pretty great post, and it’s public, and it’s just 500 words—I really urge you to go read it right now.

So if you read the post, there’s not too much else to say. This is how we like to see Montessori talked about.  It gets right to what’s great about Montessori and it addresses the real issues that are properly agitating the wider education world—poverty and inequality of educational outcomes. Look what’s in the first paragraph:

  • Student choice is powerful in poor communities.
  • Public Montessori is on the move.
  • Public Montessori favors “choice over direct instruction to serve low-income populations.”
  • There’s a thing called the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, and it has a Senior Associate and Research Director (yes, Jackie Cossentino again).

The rest of the post is essentially more of McKibben’s interview with Cossentino from the Education Update piece, packed with fantastic pull quotes which I will shamelessly excerpt here:

Most people think of Montessori as a middle class, white, affluent kind of thing. But in fact, it was designed initially and implemented in the slums of Rome, and it works really, really well [with disadvantaged students.

What Montessori does is flip that on its head by saying that if you really want to be successful, you have to learn how to regulate yourself. You have to learn how to think flexibly and how to control yourself.

Human beings learn by experimenting and exploring, and by having many opportunities for trial and error; they learn by making mistakes, and by correcting those mistakes; they learn by [making choices], and by making decisions that enable them to internalize concepts.

Students learn better and are more creative when intrinsically motivated.

But seriously, read the post, link to it, and add it to your talking points.

Milwaukee Public Montessori in the News

Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s public Montessori schools got a nice write-up in the Bay View Compass this week, covering the expansion of public Montessori in the system, giving an accurate and detailed explanation of Montessori with quotes from trainers Allyn Travis and Jay McKeever, and Montessori advocate Steve Hughes, as well as showcasing the Montessori in Milwaukee training center. From the article:

Though only about 3% of MPS’s students are enrolled in Montessori schools, their statistics—from test scores to attendance and discipline—far outpace the rest of the district as a whole, making expansion attractive to the data- and results-driven MPS administration.

Thanks to AMI-USA for the heads-up.

“Montessori Charter Schools Thriving in Lakeland”

An article in The Ledger, a small daily in Polk County, Florida, ran a detailed article about two long-standing Montessori charter schools in Lakeland, Florida (Lakeland Montessori and Lakeland Montessori Middle School) moving towards AMS certification.  Not world news, but nice coverage of public Montessori in local media.

New Milwaukee Public Montessori School to Open in September

From the Milwaukee Public Schools website:

Howard Avenue Montessori is scheduled to open to 120 half-day 3- and 4-year-olds in September. … The school was created as a response to strong demand and demonstrated success among MPS Montessori Schools.

Milwaukee Public Schools already includes seven Montessori programs as well as a charter school (Downtown Montessori Academy), making this number eight.  According to an article in the Bay View Compass, the new program was fast-tracked by the Superintendent of schools after an unexpected vacancy in a school building.  More on Milwaukee Public Schools at this Wisconsin education blog.

tags: public Montessori • Milwaukee