Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator who opened her first school in 1907. Today, her teaching philosophy lives on in the approximately 22,000 Montessori schools around the world. The count may grow by one if a group of parents succeed in opening a new Montessori school in Longview.
The Montessori philosophy recognizes that each child learns at a different rate, which is encouraged by letting kids pursue different activities in the classroom. Unlike in most schools, all students in a classroom might be doing something different at one time, under the supervision of teachers. Different ages of children are combined into classrooms so that younger kids can learn from older ones.
Despite its success and popularity with parents over more than a century, Montessori teaching conflicts more than ever with public school philosophy in the United States’ “No Child Left Behind” era. Montessori rejects the standardized tests by which public schools, teachers and principals can rise and fall.
Longview already has a Montessori school for preschoolers through age 6. Organizers of Big Leaf Montessori hope it can range from Kindergarten though 5th grade. We hope they succeed in offering an alternative for parents who aren’t wild about what public schools offer but don’t want to send their kids to a church-operated school — and can afford the monthly tuition of around $600.
The great majority of education will still fall on the public schools, but another Montessori school here will make the community better.
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