'Exactly' the ideal educational experience

Two educators point out that Montessori is “exactly” the academic program most parents would design as ideal for their own children.

The Grosse Pointe Academy offers Montessori to children from the age of 2-1/2 through kindergarten.

In a recent article published by the Delaware News Journal, two educators discuss how (and why) some administrators in Delaware and around the country are bringing the Montessori approach to education into their district public schools — albeit still a relatively rare phenomenon.

Like many other private, independent schools, The Grosse Pointe Academy has been far ahead of the curve in recognizing the value of Montessori. In fact, the Academy is home to Michigan’s longest continuous-running Montessori program. Find out more about GPA’s Early School Montessori program here.

In making their point in the article republished below, educators Christine Carrino Gorowara and Linda Zankowsky also point out that Montessori is “exactly” the educational program most parents would design as ideal for their own children.

Montessori schooling is the educational experience that many parents would create for their own

Delaware Voice / Delaware News-Journal

By Christine Carrino Gorowara and Linda Zankowsky

Published 2:43 p.m. ET March 21, 2017 | Updated 2:59 p.m. ET March 21, 2017

What kind of school would you choose for your children? Most parents would agree: one that could focus on their individual needs, one that fostered their independence and self-direction, encourages their unique interest and helps them develop necessary academic skills.

For over 100 years, Montessori education has provided this kind of schooling to millions of children in the United States and around the world. For most of its history, Montessori has been available almost exclusively through private schools, but in recent years there has been a growing movement to bring the benefits of a Montessori education to all children by offering it in public schools. The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector reports that there are now over 500 public Montessori schools in the United States.

Students at The Grosse Pointe Academy begin their educational journey in the nurturing environment of the Academy’s Early School, the longest continuously operating Montessori program in Michigan. Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy advocates the belief that early childhood education should cultivate a child’s desire to learn.

Montessori Works has supported public Montessori education in Delaware since 2012, helping to start the Montessori Academy at Christina, advocating for First State Montessori Academy in Wilmington, and sponsoring a charter application for Sussex Montessori School with expectations of a Fall 2019 opening. Additionally, the organization is working with partners to create a pipeline of teachers who are both Montessori-trained and state certified.

Why Montessori? Simply put, Montessori schooling is exactly the educational experience that many parents would create for their children. This is by design, Maria Montessori based her method on observations of children and how they interacted with their environment. Accordingly, Montessori educators prepare their classrooms so children can select materials that stimulate learning appropriate to their levels of development. When children are able to choose activities, they are more interested in their schoolwork, which results in more effective learning. They also develop the important skills of independent learning and time management.

Montessori education also features multi-aged groupings, guided by two educators in each classroom. This allows children to engage in the work most appropriate for their abilities and interests. They may work individually, although they more commonly work in pairs or small groups that provide opportunities for student-to-student discussions. Because the students typically remain in the same classroom for 2-3 years, older children are able to develop into mentors to younger children, which strengthens the learning experience for both.

So why isn’t the Montessori method more widespread? One of the main reasons is the lack of familiarity with Montessori education. When Montessori Works conducted an interest study, parents responded enthusiastically to individual features of Montessori education, including personalized learning, the opportunity to learn with and from peers, the development of real life skills, the support of innovative thinking, the value of global citizenship, and the focus on the whole child. What the parents too often didn’t know, however, is that Montessori brings all of these features together, or that Montessori can be a public school option.

Montessori Works applauds Christina School District Interim Superintendent Noreen LaSorsa and the Christina School Board for their support of Montessori Academy at Christina (MAC), despite some rocky transition issues that have resulted in a recent drop in enrollment. The early success of MAC and the long waiting list at First State Montessori Academy demonstrate the strong interest in public Montessori education in New Castle County. And as Montessori Works builds greater awareness downstate, more and more Delaware parents want for Montessori education for their children.

Every child deserves an opportunity to learn in a stimulating, collaborative, and innovative community. Delaware public schools can provide that opportunity through Montessori education. The key is for parents to ask for it.

Christine Carrino Gorowara holds a Ph.D. and Linda Zankowsky holds an Ed.D.

More information on Montessori at The Grosse Pointe Academy.


About The Grosse Pointe Academy
The Grosse Pointe Academy is an independent, coeducational day school serving children age 2 1/2 through Grade 8. We foster an inclusive environment that respects all cultures and religious beliefs. We seek to remain faithful to our heritage as a former Academy of the Sacred Heart and to those who through their Catholic faith and perseverance sought to preserve and enhance the legacy of this past for generations. Incorporated as a non-profit institution, The Grosse Pointe Academy is directed by a Board of Trustees working together to serve the Southeastern Michigan community.