I've come to believe that if schools are to provide the rich education students need for the 21st century, educators must move beyond the 18th century industrial model of schooling that predominates. That's why I was most encouraged to read about Jefferson County's Westport Middle School, which has adopted a Montessori magnet program serving about 50 students. Read more in today's Courier-Journal.
Montessori education, named after its founder, Italian Maria Montessori, emphasizes an extremly student-centered, self-directed approach to learning. Despite my training and experience as an educator, I knew little about the Montessori method until my own daughter began attending a Montessori daycare. I've become convinced that the Montessori philosophy holds real promise for a radically improved approach to student learning, but I have questioned how it might work in a traditional public school setting. I'm pleased JCPS is giving it a go (Westport Middle joins Coleridge-Taylor and Kennedy Elementary Schools, which already feature Montessori programs), and I hope the district will consider expanding its availability, providing a wider range of educational choices for parents.
Read more about Montessori education here.