10 Nov 2020

21st Century Montessori - Part 1

Published by Admin

By Dan Hicks, Education Lead, Woodland Montessori Academy

Imagine this, you are a parent in the 19th Century, earning enough to get by down by the docks, but not enough to send your children to school, so they are running around the streets like a typical Victorian ragamuffin. Luckily, there is a revolution on the horizon! Free education for all, driven by the economic successes of the industrial revolution. Hence, the modern education system is born, the same education system that prevailed up until even now. Deep in the DNA of this system is the belief that students are academic and non-academic; smart and non-smart. The reason? Intelligence in the 19th and even the 20th Century was based on two skills: knowledge of classic subjects and deductive reasoning.

Fast forward to 1950, many people are beginning to become discontent and disenfranchised by the century-old education system. Children are sent into a classroom labelled by birth year and released with the label of academic or non-academic. For those who are dreaming bigger for their children, and there is a growing movement recognising the works of Dr Maria Montessori.

When Dr Montessori opened her first Montessori school, she set primary outcomes of the Montessori method. These outcomes included giving children independence and the opportunity to learn at a pace they set for themselves using a prepared environment with Montessori materials. Many people said Montessori was a hundred years ahead of her time. Still, now in the 21st Century, even Montessori could not have predicted the skills children would need in this unpredictable ever-changing world.

Schools and teachers who follow the Montessori method are now using the Montessori method and adapting to the critical 21st Century skills children need to be successful in a constantly changing environment. The questions you may ask yourself - Can a machine do that? Will this skill be replaced by a machine? What are the valued skills in the future?

21st Century skills comprise of:

  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Skilled Communication
  • Knowledge Construction

Check out the next part of this blog to see how we explore 21st Century Skills in a Montessori classroom. 

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