Helping Montessori Organizations Achieve Sustainability
Across America, schools are experimenting with policies and procedures aimed at improving student engagement, educational opportunities, high school retention rates, parental involvement, financial stability, and most importantly academic achievement. States are struggling with adopting a national standard to assess student achievement while individual school districts are bombarded with new curriculums and instructional jargon aimed at improving student achievement and engagement. Meanwhile, students face the daunting challenges imposed upon them by high stakes testing!
TLR Consultants focuses on sustainability and specializes in the Montessori method because the Montessori method is a shining example of educational best practice. The Montessori method is a shining example of what it means to be sustainable. The Montessori method has and continues to withstand the swings of cultural shifts and trends. Furthermore, the Montessori method is the best educational model for the preparation of a truly global citizen.
How is the Montessori method sustainable?
Sustainability means that when the dust has cleared and the resources are gone, the framework of best practice is able to provide a continuous and viable climate support learning and student achievement, teacher satisfaction, and administrative leadership. In other words, is the foundational pedagogy allowing the educational institution to be able and capable of long-term viability and stability? Simply put – the Montessori method has been practiced all over the world in a similar manner for over 100 years! More importantly, the use of the method world-wide is growing. New schools are being opened in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Poland, the United States to name but a few places!
In a current article in The Week Magazine entitled, What if there were no public schools? It might not be as bad as you think (March 27, 2014) the author, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, states, “You would see a lot more Montessori schools, given the overwhelming research that suggests that this almost 100-year-old method of education produces the best results. Think about it this way: In what kind of industry would a significant productivity enhancement method be ignored by the profession for several generations?”
A Montessori school requires specialized administrative, faculty, and staff training. It needs to purchase a full complement of materials for every classroom, and it needs to have policies and procedures in place so that the foundation of the institution is completely aligned with the Montessori method and are guided by current scientific research and accurate information. Specifically, a sustainable Montessori program will put in place systems that promote a process for self-study, strategic planning, accountability, governance, leadership, education program, resources, and documentation for a cycle of continuous improvement. Sustainability in this context means that the institution will continue as a Montessori school in perpetuity.
How has the Montessori method withstood the swings of cultural shifts and trends?
The Montessori method is a scientific pedagogy! By blending an understanding of human development with scientific observation, the Montessori guide is encouraged to prepare an environment for the optimal development of the children. This allows the guide to look at the child for whom she or he is in context of the surroundings, the culture, and the human connections for which the child is part of. Hence, Montessori schools are found all over the world, on every continent, each meeting the educational needs of the individual child in the classroom. What other educational method can boast alumni as creative and diverse as Gabriel Garcia Marques, Nobel Prize winner; Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google founders; Sean (Diddy) Combs, Rapper; Julia Child, world-renowned chef and TV personality; Dakota Fanning, actress; Will Wright, video game pioneer; Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder; Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder; and Rodger Federer, tennis champion!
Why is the Montessori method the premier educational model for the preparation of a truly global citizen?
First, it is important to define what it means to be a global citizen. Leading organizations including the Global Citizen’s Initiative define a global citizen as “someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.”
Montessori schools all over the world guide children, adolescents, and young adults to become engaged in their community through peace education and character education. Concepts such as community involvement, environmental stewardship and citizenship are intrinsic in a Montessori education.