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Flyingfish

Need Info on Montesorri

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We have a new school in our troops' area and I wanted to try recruiting there. But, I would like a little intel before I approach them. Does anyone know or have experience with the Montesorri method of learning and are there any conflicts with the scouting program?

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My kids go to a Montessori charter school and have for 4 years. The program is set up so that several age groups are in one room with more than one teacher. At our school kindergarten is by itself, they do some things with the the Pre-K classes but not much. Grades 1-3 are grouped together and 4-6 then 7-8. Our school strives to have equal numbers of each year in each room when they can (6 grade 4s, 6 grade 5s, and 6 grade 6s). Spelling, math and reading usually are done in small groups that are age/skill appropriate, science, social studies and specials (art, gym, music) are done as a room. Everyone in the room does the same lessons but more is expected of the older kids in the room (grade 4s do 1 page paper, grade 6s do 3 page paper).

 

One great thing about Montessori is the kids can work at their own pace and ability level. If they don't read too well but are great at math then they are put in a lower reading group and a higher math group. It isn't uncommon to have a grade 4 that is in third grade spelling, 6th grade math and 4th grade reading. The program is built around the kids, the kids don't conform to a program. You don't see bored kids becoming class clowns. If Billie runs out of work then he helps others get theirs done or he gets another assignment from the teacher. A good Montessori teacher knows his/her students and keeps them busy without singling them out. Also the kids stay with a teacher for up to 3 years. When you enter a room as a grade 1 you stay with that teacher until you leave grade 3.

 

Montessori theory expects students to become independent, self sufficient and self directed at an early age. Kids are given a list of work for the day and in most cases they responsible for finishing the tasks by the end of the day. There are lessons by the teacher but since there are 3 grades in 1 room, the kids have to develope the ability to work in a noisier and more chaotic room than in regular school. If Julie wants to do math, then spelling then science she can. Meanwhile Billie does science, spelling and finally math. The room as a whole doesn't do math then spelling then science like a regular school. There is a lot of independent learning and small group learning at a Montessori school. There is also the expectation that the older students mentor and aid the younger students. A grade 6 may explain a math problem to a grade 4. The kids are urged to go to classmates for help before using 1 of the 2 classroom teachers.

 

As a result of the mentoring that goes on in a Montessori program and the expectations placed on them at a younger age than a traditional school, you may find that these students become the natural leaders in your unit if given a chance. Montessori kids tend to work well in small groups, problem solve well, and are used to finding answers with guidance on their own, they also as a rule have better time management skills than those in regular school. This means they tend to do well at T-2-1 rak requirements/merit badges (especially if the MBC uses worksheets), they are good instructors for younger kids coming to your troop, they tend to progress at their own rate. Leadership isn't taught at a Montessori school but due to the nature of the school leadership is learned there.

 

As for recruiting, our school doesn't allow it. The reason is we share a building ( an old high school) with several other businesses and a few government facilities. We don't own our building. We have relatively tight security compared to the other schools on our area. No outsiders in during school hours. Also they don't want to let parents with kids in the school recruit because they don't want to be accused of being favoritist. If all units can't come in a present their case then no one gets in. I don't buy it, but its the school's rules so I have to live with it. I think it has a lot to do with the head secretary and the principle not with the philosphy on Montessori.

 

Here is a link to the info page at our school. http://www.creative-montessori.com/montessori-matters.

 

Good luck!

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Several of the boys in our troop and the pack which is associated with it attend a local Montessori school. The committee chair of both units is a staff member at the school.

 

She sees a lot of synergy between Scouting and the Montessori learning philosophy.

 

Apparently Dr. Montessori did as well. According to this article she exchanged correspondence with Baden-Powell regarding their philosophies of education: http://www.kelpin.nl/fred/artikelen/mariaenrobert.pdf

 

See also:

http://www.faqs.org/childhood/Ar-Bo/Baden-Powell-Robert-1857-1941.html

 

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Montessori kids tend to be good advocates for themselves and their peers, and they tend to have good relationships with/communication skills with adults. (or anyway, that's my experience)

 

So if your unit is looking to recruit from that pool, you had better make sure your unit is one that welcomes thoughtful young men who are willing to speak up (courteously, of course - they're scouts, after all) when they see things differently than the adults in your unit do.

 

In some units that's labeled "disrespect" and is actively discouraged. Montessori kids probably wouldn't be a great fit in a troop like that.

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My wife is a teaching asst. at a Montesorri school. So far everything that has been said is pretty much right on the money. There overall philosophy is to teach independence. She was a TA in the pre-school and admitted one of the tougher things she had to do was to sit back and let the 3 year olds dress themselves before they went outside for recess. As a mom she was used to making sure her little ones were properly dressed before they went out incuding all the buttons and zippers, boots etc. In the Montesorri system these kids were expected to be able to do these things themselves after a couple of weeks.

 

But the overall philosophy is very compatible with scouting. But as Lisa notes, be prepared to take on some articulate, independent thinking young people. Generally the 8th graders that graduate from the school my wife works at are more prepared for independent work than most high schoolers.

 

SA

 

 

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I've read a little bit about Baden- Powell's ideas about education, and I read up on Montessori, and I think the founders of Montesorri read BP's stuff, too. The only problem I could dream up is: They might think Scouts is too much like School.

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