Tuition-Free Montessori, Yes please!
My first experience with the Montessori philosophy in education was in one of my teacher education classes. It was mentioned as a side note, and then we moved on to another topic. I then went on to teach in a wide variety of schools – from public to international. As a traditional public school educator, topics like Montessori would come up occasionally, but I never fully understood the philosophy. I found that to be the norm when talking with other educators.
It wasn’t until I became a father that a neighbor suggested my wife and I consider placing our school-aged children in the local public Montessori school. After observing the school and falling in love with the method, we enrolled our children and within a couple of months a whole new world opened up for my family and my children.
My children truly loved going to school. Learning was exciting for them and in turn became exciting for our family as a whole. Not only were they learning Spanish, geography, and math, they were learning practical life, grace and courtesy- which they brought home to us. They were learning the required state standards, but they were also learning so many practical tools that they could use on a daily basis in the real world. Montessori made learning real for both my children, and me and my wife. It really made me wonder why the Montessori method was not more clearly spoken about in my college courses.
Maybe it was because society thought Montessori schools were only for the rich who could afford to pay tuition. Let me be the first to say (although I’m surely not) this is FALSE. True, public Montessori schools must meet the standards set by state and federal governments but that doesn’t mean they can’t do it in a Montessori way. While many say that Montessori doesn’t work in public schools, it does work! Public Montessori schools implement the Montessori Method and cosmic education all while meeting the needs of the whole child, teaching state standards and accelerating learning. Call it the whole package if you will.
So why am I saying all of this? I believe that Montessori has the opportunity to flourish in the public school domain and parents should have the opportunity to allow their children to experience tuition-free Montessori. Having been a part of traditional, public & private education as both a student and an educator, I am amazed at how the Montessori philosophy approaches the child, the teacher, and the environment to nurture the whole child and meet state standards. There are clearly more private Montessori schools than public schools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better. The number of public Montessori schools is increasing because they accelerate the learner within their environment. If you are a parent struggling with the idea of your child attending school for the first time or you are trying to find just the right fit, I encourage you to visit and observe a public Montessori school. It might just change your mind!