It’s always great to have a look inside Montessori schools and their classrooms. This video of Sunstone Montessori School, based in Portland, Oregon, provides a lovely overview Montessori in the elementary years. It includes interviews with students, parents, the Montessori guides and the Head of School. It provides helpful information about how children learn within the Montessori classroom and explains many of the key approaches that Montessori is known for.
The Great Lessons are five key areas of interconnected study typically presented in Montessori Elementary classrooms. Through the use of story-telling, Montessori students learn about how the world came to be, the development of life on Earth, the story of humankind, the development of language and writing, and the development of mathematics. Called “impressionistic lessons,” these stories give children a cosmic perspective of our planet and their place within that bigger picture.
Not so much because the curricula is necessarily the same, rather because in Montessori we recognize that children learn by doing, by experiencing, by exploring, and by bringing the Great Lessons (stories) to life. We know that learning is totally interconnected and that there is great value for children in experiencing their education this way. In particular, I loved the reference to Roger Schank’s Student Bill of Rights. As someone (a Parent and a School Director of Development) who has been involved with and supporting Montessori education for the past 12 years, this seems to simply make such common sense to me. In fact, many of these “Rights” are something that I believe are practiced on a daily basis in “true Montessori” classrooms throughout the world.