What Do Students Need Today to Be Leaders Tomorrow?


 

Eighth grader carries the flag at United Nations Day

It was a great pleasure for me to speak to parents at Meadows Montessori School earlier this spring. I love sharing about the philosophy and science of Maria Montessori because I strongly believe the Montessori approach can provide solutions to the misguided educational policy in our nation.

In general, the information we are testing our students for in public schools is not what they will most need to be successful in the economy of the 21st century – and it is certainly not what they need to be leaders and entrepreneurs.  As Daniel Pink says in his book Drive, we are moving from the information age to the conceptual age.  Today’s students need to learn how to synthesize information into new ideas – to be able to design novel ways of approaching solutions.  Along the way they need to learn to ask questions, to challenge assumptions and to collaborate.

 

Andrew Kutt spoke at the International Monetary Fund in March, 2015

In order to achieve these aptitudes, students need practice, and that is precisely what they get at a Montessori school.  Montessori schools do have an established set of curriculum goals, yet the central focus of the program is always the individual student. Maria Montessori’s most famous adage is “Follow the child.”  In a Montessori school the students’ interests are the starting point and their ideas are always viewed as important.  They are encouraged to do research to further their knowledge and to bolster the foundation of the project they may be pursuing.

 

Second grade student presents his science fair project

Maria Montessori defined the role of the teacher in a unique way; she referred to teachers as a “guide”.  IN a Montessori school the teacher’s role is to inspire, to “light the fire of intelligence in the child.”  This is a subtle but significantly different than the role the teacher played for most of us growing up – as the person who possessed the knowledge that we needed to gain.  Montessori teachers are certainly masters of the subject matter they are teaching; yet their focus is on encouraging the students to use the tools available to them to learn concepts and skills on their own.  In a Montessori school learning is the product of the students interacting with their world and with each other.

 

Preschoolers watering flowers in the garden

One of the most important outcomes in a Montessori school is that the students become “drivers” of their own education.  They learn to take initiative, to plan and organize assignments and to look at the big picture.   As such they remain highly engaged in their learning because it is meaningful to them.  They are not studying things because they have to but because they want to.  Allowing students to make choices about their own education is the key.  

 

Andrew Kutt at the Rising Sun Foundation – with Eric Bailey, Mozella Ademiluyi and Montgomery County first lady Catherine Leggett

Montessori students are becoming the leaders and entrepreneurs of the 21st century.  It is not an accident that the founders of Google and Amazon were Montessori kids.  The growth of Montessori high schools across the country is an indication that the impact of Montessori on education will continue to increase – and that the number of Montessori kids changing our world will continue to rise as well.
 Connect with Andrew Kutt
Right now I am passionate about:
1. I will be doing a 3-part webinar in May on Guiding Teachers to be more Reflective and Proactive in collaboration with Jonathan Wolff and Tim Seldin of the Montessori Foundation. More info at www.montessori.org
2.  I have been researching Montessori High Schools across the country and have found some amazing programs building on Maria Montessori’s vision for adolescent students.   A few of the most interesting schools can be found here:

3.  I recently made my video anthem to Maria Montessori publically available.  The song is called Montessori Child and you can watch the video at:
 www.purplemartinmusic.com or at Facebook/purplemartinmusic.

 For more information about me, click here

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Meadows Montessori is Frederick County’s best Montessori School offering the best in curriculum, environment and instructors. It’s been amazing to watch our daughter thrive in the environment.
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