If you are reading this blog, my guess is that you have gone to school. No matter where that school was located, or who your favorite and least favorite teachers were, my guess is also that the school you attended looked very much like the schools most children attend in 2017. Your classroom was most likely filled with desks, chalkboards or dry erase boards, books, pencils, notebooks and perhaps some art materials. There was probably one teacher who talked more than he or she listened, and even your enrichment classes were probably similar to the ones most schools offer today: physical education, music, art and foreign language. Why, you might ask, is this so? Do the cars we drove 20 or 30 years ago look and act in the same ways? Do our banks, stores and other businesses function as they did when you were a child? Chances are the answer is no.
Why is it so hard to create change in schools? Reading blog after blog and book after book, attending conferences, and learning from other educators leads me to understand it is the way of education. Change happens slowly – and it happens even more slowly in schools. You might be fortunate enough to have experienced a teacher or classroom that is at the cutting edge of what it means to create a vital teaching and learning environment. Typically, it takes decades for those changes to become what one might consider “best practice” in education and part of every child’s school experience. .
The advantage of an independent school (like Wilmington Montessori School) is that the changes we know need to happen in education are happening in classrooms on a daily basis. Independent schools are able to make changes more quickly. We are able to be more experimental, trying things, seeing if they work and incorporating change from one classroom to the next in a more responsive way than can occur in the public school system. Independent schools have thrived and continue to contribute to the education of children by doing just that.
We know the children in our schools. We understand them and work each day to build the experience those children will benefit from the most. The result is students and graduates who are themselves more independent. These young people are not only capable of upholding and exceeding the standards that are critical to ensure an educated populace; they are also able to think independently, synthesize information and effect change in our world.