So often the goal of education is to cover curriculum: addition of fractions, multiplication of large numbers, writing paragraphs, U.S. history, biology and so on. What if the goal is to uncover knowledge rather than to cover it? What if children were presented with ideas, questions and problems rather than answers and solutions? What would happen?
For most of us, our education consisted of a series of topics that we were tested on before moving on to the next. If we were lucky, we had more than one opportunity to be introduced to a topic so that perhaps we might retain the knowledge and connect it to other things we had learned. If we weren’t as lucky, we quickly forgot what we learned after the test or paper was submitted. That is what school looked like from its inception in the 1800s.
Today education can be so much more. Children have the opportunity to explore ideas they are passionate about. They can take the time to thoroughly understand a concept, ask questions and create meaningful learning and connections. Yes, they still learn to read, write and do arithmetic. But they also have the opportunity to experience so much more.
At Wilmington Montessori School, we are fortunate to have teachers who are trained Montessorians. At the very foundation of their training, they understand what it means to allow children the time they need to be introduced to a concept, explore and ask questions, and to work toward mastery.
Time. It is something adults often can be heard saying they don’t have enough of. It is a value deeply held in the Montessori philosophy of education. Children need time – time to explore; time to observe; time to question; time to connect the ideas and information they are being exposed to. They need time to uncover the possibilities and to engage in their learning in ways that were not possible for most of us as elementary students.
As you walk through the school, take the time to see what our children have uncovered this week. What you see may ignite curiosity and wonder.