Baan Dek

Spotlight Montessori Gym


This interview is with Barbara from Montessori Gym.

A quick note on the story behind Montessori Gym:

My husband and I are Montessori parents who dedicate their professional life to sports performance analysis and training. Some time ago, we started noticing that there seems to be a disconnect between the way the Montessori approach is implemented inside the classroom and during physical education classes. In the latter, often traditional methods are used, where many components appear at odds with Montessori (e.g. the orientation towards competitive sports instead of collaborative activities, or performing exercises by commands instead of promoting learning through independent exploration). In view of this, we reached out to both Montessori and athletic development experts as we embarked in the endeavor of developing a new concept, that of a physical education program and environment that truly respect and follow Montessori principles. With the “Montessori Gym,” as we have called it, our hope is to contribute to the Montessori community by offering a much-needed tool to enhance the child’s overall learning experience, and also to raise awareness about the need to extend the application of the Montessori philosophy to the field of physical education, ever more crucial for the wellbeing of children, in order to close the circle in terms of preparing the whole child for life.

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Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams?

I am a constant and eager learner. I am always looking for information, reading, researching, asking, googling (if we can count that as a word!). Upon graduating from college, I went straight into academia, pursuing a PhD, just to keep on studying. I also consider myself a citizen of the world – I love traveling, exploring different cultures; I have learnt a handful of languages and have lived in just as many cities in different continents. My dream is to contribute to education with innovation.

Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: What’s your favorite color?

Blue (like the sky and the oceans that unite us all).

Q: Do you have a favorite book? How about a film?

It is hard to pick! For books, the ones that come to mind right now are Roald Dahl’s “Boy” and Lisa See’s “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.” For movies, I will go with Amelie.

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Q: When you close your eyes late at night, and imagine waking up and starting a new adventure: what is that adventure?

Travel the world! My current dream destination: Japan.

Q: What first appealed to you about Montessori?

I became a mother when I was living in Italy. What appealed to me first was the way Montessori reflects the Italian idiosyncrasy, that is why I see Montessori not just as an education method, but as a way of life.

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Q: What advice do you have for new Montessori adults?

Be ready, for once you start seeing the world through Montessori lenses, everything changes!

Q: Did you have a “Montessori Moment?”

Yes! When I first visited a Montessori school and saw the harmony reigning in the classroom. Also: the first time I saw a picture of my children doing a Montessori lesson!

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Q: What’s your favorite Montessori quote?

“Movement is an essential factor in intellectual growth”

Q: What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?

Find out what experts suggest (lots of resources online!) and also learn about other parents’ experiences, and then, with that information as a foundation, do what feels natural to you and your child and what best suits your family.

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Q: What do you think is the best introduction to Montessori?

The information and resources provided by reference organizations like Association Montessori International or the American Montessori Society.

Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?

Its timelessness and universality.

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Q: In what ways do you envision the future of education?

I think the future of education lies in the personalization of the learning experience and in fostering versatile skills like the “4 C’s” – Creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. As Dr. Montessori would say, it is about educating for life.

Q: Where do you see Montessori in the next 100 years?

As relevant as ever, a lasting legacy adjusting to changing times with the help of current Montessorians, and hopefully reaching every family across the globe!

Written by:

Baan Dek

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