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Happy Birthday to Maria Montessori on August 31! Ivy League focuses on Montessori’s early life and work during one week each August to help the children have a better understanding of why their school is so special.
But how do you explain “Montessori” to adults? If you are in sales, you can appreciate how important it is to have a short, concise speech to get your message across quickly to your potential customers. But how do you condense a complex educational philosophy into a few minutes for prospective parents? A few years ago the group known as “Montessorimadmen” sponsored a video contest called the “Montessori Elevator Speech”. The idea was to help everyone be ready to answer that perennial question that all of you have heard, “What is Montessori and why do you have your child in that kind of school?” The videos are very informative and I encourage you to watch them here:
I asked our experts, the children who live Montessori everyday, what Montessori meant to them. I started with our elders, the Upper Elementary. As you can imagine, they had a lot to say! After all, some of them have over nine years of experience in Montessori; or as one person put it, “I’ve been in Montessori my whole life.” They said a Montessori school is where:
· Learning is fun, and you’re allowed to explore new things
· Teachers care about you and spend time with you one-on- one
· You get to make friends and work with them
· You meet kids from everywhere around the world, not just your district
· You get a good education with fun and freedom
· You learn what you want, when you want to learn it
They went on to say that we needed to continue Ivy League Montessori School through college so I guess we should ramp up our fundraising goals….
I then went to the Lower Elementary (another group with a lot to say!). Their answers were remarkably similar to the Upper Elementary but they added:
· You get to have snack
· You get to use books not just computers
· Ms. Bee makes math fun
· You get to draw
· You get to do science, math, and language
They also said they wanted to “stay here forever”. When I told them that the older children wanted us to go all the way through college, one child decided I needed to go back into the classroom to teach. Another asked me if I “was certified to teach college” and when I responded “no”, he said, “we’ll just find someone else to do that then!”
The Primary children (ages 3 – 6 years) really wanted to let me know about the work they did to explain Montessori. They mentioned:
· Rice pouring
· Flower arranging
· The I Spy Game
But some other comments were:
· It’s where you make peace
· You be nice and play good with your fiends
· It’s where you say “I love you”
So I learned that Montessori can be explained many different ways, but I vote for, “It’s where you say I love you.”
Happy Birthday, Maria! We are all so glad that you gave us your incredible gift of seeing what children really needed in order to become their true selves. We are so fortunate to be able to do this work everyday!
We recently transferred from another Montessori school in the area to ILMS and we could not be happier with our decision. We have finally found the school that we hope to make our children’s second home. From the second you walk into ILMS you can feel the love that the staff has for each and every student. My son was a bit timid at first, but the teachers and staff made him feel very welcome and he has grown to love going to school. His teacher, Ms. Charu, has a wonderful gift to communicate with children genuinely and effectively. My son has taken to her since the day they met. There are plenty of unique enrichment activities available for children that we hope to take advantage of soon, and we have found the parent workshops very useful as well. In my opinion, this school is in a league of their own compared to others in the area. We feel very lucky to have become part of the ILMS family and provide our children with such a nurturing and educational environment.
Amanda Ripley February, 2014