Celebrating the 111th anniversary of Montessori Education!
Growth mindsets, 21st-century learning skills, cross-cultural competencies – these are among the important topics vigorously promoted in schools these days. But it is important to remember something that has been true since Plato first wrote about his cave: schools are, at their deepest core, about the fundamental and pivotal relationship between student and teacher.
A friend of a friend of mine, a superb teacher, attributes her entire philosophy of education to a conversation she once had with a student she taught during her first year of teaching in 1976.
“I was teaching up North, and on the first day of school this boy arrived. He hadn’t been there for any of the preparation meetings, but he was just a young boy starting kindergarten. He was very, very quiet. He said almost nothing, until the third week of school, when he had an ‘accident’.
I was in the stall with him, cleaning him up, and that’s the first time he talked to me, there in that stall. And I will always remember his big dark eyes as he asked me 3 questions:
- Is school hard?
- Can I do it?
- Will you be here every day when I come?
I’ve never forgotten that boy, who is now almost 40, and I’ve never forgotten those questions. They have stayed with me.”
I remind myself of the importance of relationships. Students need to be supported, swiftly and meaningfully, on a regular basis. They need to be encouraged, acknowledged, and occasionally even celebrated, because as children get older, the years can be scary and unsettling ones. The stormy seas of physical, mental, and emotional changes children sometimes swim in can rob them of the kind of quiet self-assurance they will eventually need to join a workplace, a school club, or even a conversation.
Head of Schools