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Each spring, our local newspaper asks workers throughout Delaware to fill out workplace surveys extolling their virtues and explaining their challenges. This year, Wilmington Montessori School participated and had the honor of not only being selected as one of Delaware’s Top Workplaces, but also receiving a specialty award for meaningfulness in our work. The award is nice, the importance even nicer.

As Daniel Pink states, what motivates us is a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose (or meaningfulness). Each of those values are at the core of our school’s philosophy and approach to learning. Maria Montessori encouraged us to do for ourselves what we can and to learn from each other. The goal is to learn through hands-on experiences and develop a sense of mastery so that children may teach others who have yet to learn a certain skill. All work is done with a purpose, to further a student’s goals and gain knowledge and understanding that will serve him or her and she reaches for other goals.

The same is true of our staff. Yes, we could sit back and relish in the fact that Dr. Montessori developed a terrific education system. We could feel smug in the fact that we have integrated her system with current research, the Common Core and best educational practices. We could relax knowing that our students perform well on standardized tests. However, we don’t do any of these things. We continue to search, to learn and to grow. We continue to search for meaning in what we do and to share that search with our students and families. We do this not only for our students but also for ourselves. We are a community of learners working to support one another and garner lessons along the way.

Autonomy, mastery and purpose – keystones to learning throughout one’s life.