Noëlle posted an article on Facebook today and led off her caption with this quote:
“We should be encouraging the children in our care to revel in their childhood, not hurry out of it as if children were no more than miniature, imperfect versions of adults.”
This article, “The Problem With Hurrying Childhood Learning” looks at the American education system’s emphasis on pulling children through pre-set levels at a pre-set pace of learning, irrespective of the child’s aptitude, interests, way of learning, or anything else.
It’s a Procrustean bed. One size fits all, and if it doesn’t it’ll be made to fit one way or another.
This is to take nothing away from the teachers who work so hard, and give so much, to love the children in their care and teach them to think, to love learning, to love the things they’re learning, and to grow. I love and respect teachers, and wish the system in which they work didn’t work this way.
Learning doesn’t work that way, and Maria Montessori recognized that. The educational method she put together and which bears her name respects this.
In her caption Noëlle offered, “One of the reasons why I love Montessori approach to education is that it doesn’t hurry the child from subject to subject. It lets the child enjoy and savor the process which is maybe more important for learning than the end result.”
Just so. Children have a desire to learn, to be guided, to be encouraged and led, and to do for themselves. When they learn to do this learning thing in a way that respects how their minds and hearts work they take ownership of their own development—and not just in learning arithmetic and spelling, but in every aspect of their lives.
Noëlle concludes her post with this:
There is a story I love about Montessori. Supposedly a reporter once came to one of her classrooms to observe. Under the impression that there were no rules in a Montessori classroom he asked a young boy, “I hear that in this room you can do whatever you like.” The boy thought for a moment and then said, “I don’t know about that. But I do know that I like whatever I do.”
This is what Noëlle and I are trying to bring to the children of the hilltop neighborhoods through the Hilltop Children’s House.