Hi ! My son attended a Montessori school, that was a public school in Davis California. It was great ! At that time in my life, when I had some free time--I volunteered in his classroom from kindergarten through 3rd grade. It was a real learning experience.(I teach at the university level so I hadn't experienced Montessori until my son was taught using that method.) It is hands-on and the different grades were in the same room, so the older ones helped the younger children and the younger children sought help from the older ones. The parents were really unified in helping out and created a community that helped the teacher. My son stayed on at that school until we moved to another city when he was in fourth grade. I feel so fortunate that he could be in that learning environment. Now I teach at an elementary school part-time, in ELL. It is a typical elementary school and it is hugely different than what my son experienced at the Montessori public school in Davis, CA
I think all communities should try to get at least one public Montessori school in their city. In Davis where my son attended Montessori, the community fought for that program long before I moved there; and I was fortunate enough to live there while my son was young.
I'm floored by #3's comment that Montessori stresses a whole language approach! Montessori is known for giving kids a great grounding in phonetic language work. If a school does not offer the preschool levels of Montessori, bring some of that material up into the early elementary grades!
I think that Montessori curriculums are very beneficial in public, non-charter schools. I teach in a low-income suburb of Chicago, and while we do not have a Montessori curriculum in place, I often find that some of my best teaching moments have occurred in structures resembling those that would happen in a Montessori school.
Students learn the most in cooperative settings, where they are able to have hands-on experiences and interact with one another through experiential learning. I think that the teacher should most certainly be more of a learning facilitator than a direct instructor. If the teacher does her job correctly, her students should be able to take the basis of her instruction and teach and learn from one another.
The only drawback to Montessori methods, I have found, are that they do not lend themselves to being beneficial to english language learners (ELLs) or students who know english as a second language (ESLs). Montessori stresses a whole-language approach which is difficult for students learning English and who might be more familiar with other language sounds. Otherwise, I support Montessori curriculum in public schools.
I also think this would be a great idea. I currently teach at a Montessori school, although my children attend public school (private school is too expensive for us!). I am always astonished at the differences between how my children learn at their school and how my students learn. While my children have come to view learning as a forced habit, my students seem to hunger for new knowledge and new experiences.
The only drawback that I see to implementing a Montessori base into public schools is the amount of time and money it will take to train public school teachers on the Montessori method. While thinking about the money side of this may seem boring, it is very real. I can't imagine our already stressed city budget is going to allow for the retraining of all of our public school teachers. It's a shame, but I will bet 90% of the census will not want to spend tax dollars on training teachers to be different teachers.
I think it's an excellent idea! I am at a public school in which we have implemented this into our 3-5 year old classes. Next year, the rest of the school will become 6-9 year old classes, with three 4th grade transition classes to prepare them to go to intermediate centers within our school corporation.
The peaceful classroom is so important to be taught, especially in the inner-city schools. The Montessori materials lend themselves to reach so many learners due to their beauty, hands-on, etc. I have been taught only bits and pieces this year but will receive my formal training next summer. I am anxiously awaiting this!!