Friday, October 28, 2011

Montessori Anyone?

I'm in the market for some books about Montessori and Waldorf schools.  Anyone have suggestions?  My wife keeps sending me website after website (which is useful), but I need something to page through.  Any and all suggestions welcome.  Thanks!


Hey there -- I would highly recommend reading Maria Montessori's _The Absorbent Mind_. It is, obviously, an outdated text in many ways, but I think you can get the purest idea of the pedagogical underpinnings of the Montessori method. For what it's worth, I taught Montessori for two years down south before we moved to the Midwest. I'd be happy to share my thoughts on it offline sometime...

I would also recommend reading a book by Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind or The Montessori Method, probably. It's an approach I really like. The school that I work at started out as a Montessori school and has held on to a lot of the Montessori philosophy and approach, particularly in the early years. I would consider sending The Bean (our son) to a Montessori school once he reaches pre-school age. One thing to be aware of is that "Montessori" is not a trade-marked name, so anyone can say that they offer a Montessori program, whether they have the credentials or not. If you're going to put Yogi into a Montessori school I would suggest making sure that the teachers have qualifications from a Montessori teacher training institute.

As for Waldorf, I love the focus on nature and the arts, but I find the whole woodland fairy thing a bit strange and also I feel that there are quite a few Christian undertones, which I wouldn't have a problem with if they were acknowledged as such, but I feel that they aren't acknowledged at all. Anything by Rudolf Steiner should be helpful in explaining Waldorf philosophy, maybe Anthroposophy in Everyday Life, as a starting point.

You may also be interested in looking into Reggio Emelia. It's another child-centered approach.

I'll be very interested if you find one you like! We're looking at those and a quaker school in town.

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