21st-century, 21st-century skills, curiosity, education, Maria Montessori, montessori, Montessori education, questioning, questions, research, teachers, understand by design, Wilmington Montessori, Wilmington Montessori School
One of the focuses of a 21st-century education is acquiring research skills. This is another skill upon which Dr. Maria Montessori built her educational philosophy – one that is evident in every classroom at WMS.
Our early childhood students are asking questions about forest animals, hibernation, prehistoric animals, rocks and minerals, and the peacemakers in our world. In the elementary classrooms, children are busy researching biomes, continents and birds in our woods. They are asking questions, finding answers, refining their questions and searching further. They are discovering the recursive nature of research. An answer is not always the end, but just the beginning.
Many of our teachers have attended professional development workshops that focused on the Understand by Design model of teaching. This approach begins with essential questions to provoke thought and allow students the opportunity to wonder, create and innovate. Teachers are not perceived as all-knowing; they are instead viewed as learners who guide with questions to prompt further thought and questions. This curriculum framework aligns beautifully with Montessori education. Teachers are guides. They observe, note the misunderstandings and competencies that children demonstrate, and determine how to next guide their students based on them.
As children complete their years at WMS, they have had many opportunities to ask questions, to wonder and to refine their thinking. They have learned things that are perhaps faulty understandings, and they have had the opportunity to correct those errors and try again. They are prepared to enter seventh grade as independent, curious learners. Most importantly, they have gained this 21st-century skill of research and questioning, which will serve them well as students in school and in life.