I first read about Montessori before I had any children or had started planning to have children and was ‘sold’ on the philosophy from the start. The more I read, the more involved in Montessori education I want to be.
Last week, I saw this video for the first time:
Ever since, I’ve wanted to share it with everyone I bump into. Trevor Eissler’s book, Montessori Madness is being offered in a worldwide giveaway by the fantastic Montessori Print Shop (load of info on their blog and site on use of Montessori principles, as well as printables that reduce the cost of buying materials that aren’t needed in a home environment). If the contents are anything like the video, it looks like a book I’ll be gently lending to all the parents I know (after I’ve devoured it myself)
To enter their giveaway, click here.
My answer to the question “Why is the best product in the world (Montessori Education) so poorly and timidly marketed? How can we change this?“ is: I think one of the problems is that anyone can use the word ‘Montessori’ without really knowing what it represents. When I told other parents that I was thinking of home educating using Montessori philosophy, many of the comments were along the lines that it’s very prescriptive (certain materials used in certain ways) or that Montessori ‘hated imaginative play’ or that it’s just for pre-schoolers. In the , we have an early years framework that requires play based learning until age 6 with children free to choose activities, so those parents who are aware of Montessori also think this is ‘the same’ as Montessori. Montessori schooling is considered an elite choice, so many don’t even think to look into it – and that’s from the small sub-set of parents who look into any alternative to State education for their children.
It seems strange that Montessori education should be such a ‘hard sell’ but I think sadly it is to do with cases where the word ‘Montessori’ has just been added to a school run by people with only a vague idea of what the philosophy is about. It seems like the connection between MMR and autism – there’s no link but people think it’s there because of media exposure; Montessori and hot-housing seem to be linked inextricably in people’s minds. The solution? I have no idea, but I think Trevor Eissler’s video is a very good step in giving the world a bite-sized introduction to what Education could be like.
But on thinking more, I wish I’d added that parents need to be made more aware of alternatives to state education, and that alternatives are not ‘hippy’ or ‘out there’ or just being alternate for the sake of it. How much media coverage is there on “X% of school/college leavers can’t <insert basic skill here>”? I don’t think the media is helping anything but instead of blaming schools, teachers, parents, ‘the youth of today’ maybe more debate on the value of testing, tables, standardisation etc should be in the mainstream so that there are a variety of educational choices?