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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Superwoman Was Already Here: Maria Montessori (470)

Check out this great summary of the Montessori Method and the importance of discovering and encouraging each student to discover and be inquisitive. I thought this little video (although maybe too young for this method) reminds us not to be spontaneous and try to capture lightning in a bottle.

Via the Innovative Educator: Superwoman Was Already Here: "
By Daniel C. Petter-Lipstein. This post originally appeared on Kate Fridkis's blog Un-schooled.

Superwoman was already here.And she gave us a superb educational model to end the “Race to Nowhere.”
Her name was Dr. Maria Montessori and in the first half of the 20th century she pioneered and refined the Montessori method of education. Today, there are over 17,000 Montessori schools worldwide including thousands of preschools in the USA and hundreds of Montessori schools in the U.S. at the K-8 level.
This story also highlights the role of a teacher in a Montessori classroom as being a “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage.”

(can you believe that I found this on the internet? source)
The culture of inquiry that is the hallmark of a good Montessori school is also a critical foundation for the creativity and innovation that America will need to compete in the 21st century. In December 2009, the Harvard Business Review published an article called, “The Innovator’s DNA” based on a six-year study of 3,000 creative executives including visionaries likeApple’s Steve Jobs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Ebay’s Pierre Omidyar and Meg Whitman, and P&G’s A.G. Lafley. In an accompanying interview (with two of the three authors of the study) entitled How Do Innovators Think?”, one of the professors that conducted the study noted (emphasis mine)
2. No Homework
And homework is a waste of time. The research has shown consistently that homework at the grade school level has virtually no correlation with academic achievement. See this article from Time magazine which summarizes the leading research.
3. Calm and Peaceful Classroom EnvironmentIn a wonderful new book called “Brain Rules for Baby” by Dr. John Medina, a brain scientist, some of this research is examined and explored. Dr Medina, in a chapter on how to raise a smart child writes:
This overarching goal predicts many things, and here’s the most important: If you want a well-educated child, you must create an environment of safety. When the brain’s safety needs are met, it will allow its neurons to moonlight in algebra classes. When safety needs are not met, algebra goes out the window. Roosevelt’s dad held him first, which made his son feel safe, which meant the future president could luxuriate in geography.”

Superwoman arrived over 100 years ago and showed us how extraordinary school can be for all types of children. It is up to all of us to carry on her legacy and work. America’s children deserve nothing less.
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