Montessori Education in the 21st Century

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By Dijana Bate, Founding Director of Glebe Montessori School

While nearly every aspect of our lives is changing, our current education system, for the most part, remains stagnant and is “at risk”, according to Harvard Innovation Education Fellow Dr. Tony Wagner. “Our schooling culture has turned us into “compliance-driven, good little consumers of information– a passive learning model. Innovative learning cultures are cross-disciplinary and teach about creating, not consuming.”

Imagine a method that accelerates learning, provides a strong concrete academic foundation and is adapted to each individual’s learning style. Imagine an educational model that instills the desire to teach oneself and others….one that challenges students to think critically, innovate, problem solve, practice independence and be self-motivated. Imagine a classroom that fosters compassion and social responsibility as children of different ages engage with one another in a prepared, enriched environment, and where opportunities for collaboration, mentoring and practicing leadership skills are encouraged.

Visionary Dr. Maria Montessori gave us a new template for education as early as 1907 – one that is more relevant in the 21st century than ever! This pedagogical template has gained momentum all around the world and has received recognition and support from countless individuals who have impacted all walks of life – just to name a few: Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, The Montessori Mafia, “The Montessori educational approach might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so overrepresented by the school’s alumni that one might suspect a Montessori Mafia: Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales… Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that Montessori alumni lead two of the world’s most innovative companies. Or perhaps the Montessori Mafia can provide lessons for us all even though it’s too late for most of us to attend Montessori. We can change the way we’ve been trained to think.  That begins in small, achievable ways, with increased experimentation and inquisitiveness.  Those who work with Mr. Bezos find his ability to ask “why not?” or “what if?” as much as “why?” to be one of his most advantageous qualities. Questions are the new answers.”

Research validates the competitive edge Montessori students have in reading and math skills compared to non-Montessori children. “They also tested better on “executive function,” the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.” It is not surprising that the majority of our elementary students at Glebe Montessori School (GMS) score at least two grade levels higher every year on Canadian nationwide CAT4 achievement tests.

If you are dreaming the “not so impossible” dream —for education to catch up to the digital age, meeting the present and future needs of our children, join us at GMS for a bilingual educational experience that will benefit your child for a lifetime! GMS offers programming for toddlers (ages 1.5 to 3), preschoolers (ages 3-6) and elementary students (ages 6 -12). GMS also offers a Montessori Mediated Learning (MML) program for advanced learners with specific needs (ages 6 to 12).

This spring, we are celebrating the fact that our GMS Grade 6 students can now continue their Montessori education in our own Glebe neighbourhood, at Lansdowne Park! A warm welcome to The Element, a Montessori based junior and senior high school (Grades 7 to 12), which will open its doors to students from all schools in the community, in September 2015.

GMS looks forward to collaborating with The Element to prepare our children for the social, scientific and technical challenges of tomorrow.

For more information, please contact Glebe Montessori School, 650 Lyon St. South, Ottawa, at 613.237.3824 or gmsinfo@glebemontessori.ca; our website can be viewed at www.glebemontessori.com.