We recently sat down with Charlotte Wood and Jamie Bauer and asked them to share their thoughts on the role community plays in Montessori. There's been a lot of attention in the media lately about public schools deliberately focusing more on community, intentionally attempting to foster stronger relationships amongst their students. As a result, we've received a number of inquiries, asking us about how community factors into what we do at Baan Dek. Here's what Charlotte and Jamie had to say:
"Public educational systems have started introducing curriculum for teaching interpersonal skills. These skills include qualities such as empathy, strong communication, conflict resolution, and collaboration. These skills, to be sure, are important life skills that every child needs to learn.
For us, however, these are nothing new.
In Montessori classrooms, children learn these characteristics as a byproduct of being in multiage groups with the freedom to talk, help, and work with one another. Here are a few examples that we would love to share with you.
In the Toddler Classroom, the children are helping each other with things like walking quietly while carrying a tray, demonstrating a pincer grasp while putting a friend’s painting paper on the easel.
In the Primary Classrooms, a great example is math, which is introduced as a group activity. When the children are figuring out who is going to lead the addition equation or who is going to roll up the rug, not only are they learning the academic principals, they are also learning leadership, teamwork, and how to work toward a common goal.
In our opinion, these social skills are just as important, if not more so, than the academics.
This natural experience of interpersonal development is yet another way Montessori classrooms prepare the whole child for life in the real world. "