The Washington Post had an interesting article the other day about the popularity and success of Montessori schools. The ideas of Maria Montessori are not a trade secret and they have been around for quite some time. So … why has the education establishment been slow to adapt? University of Virginia psychologist Angeline Stoll Lillard has a stinging observation.
The psychologist Lillard was at first skeptical of Montessori’s ideas when she started her research 20 years ago. But she found that a strong body of evidence in developmental psychology supports Montessori’s major conclusions — among them, that there is a close relationship between movement and cognition, that the best learning is active and that order is beneficial for children. …
[Montessori] looked for what worked rather than what fit a theory. “If schooling were evidence‐based,” Lillard wrote, “I think all schools would look a lot more like Montessori schools.”
Unfortunately, instead of letting parents match individual children with a variety of schools, including Montessoris, that are tailored to kids’ unique and infinitely varied needs, politicians like the new mayor of Washington obsess over controlling current, hidebound, one‐size‐fits‐all public school systems. Such tinkering, however, won’t fix education. It will only put someone new in charge.