Blog: Why is there increasing interest in Montessori?

Our Head of Training, Louise Livingston, explains why Montessori is experiencing something of a “moment”.

Interest in Montessori is especially vibrant right now. In the rapidly evolving, digital, post-Covid era people are realising that there are alternatives to the “teach and test” approach that characterises mainstream education and are looking for something different. We are seeing significant interest in our school and record numbers of people are training with us.

Both parents and practitioners are realising that mainstream approaches do not prepare children for the kind of world that they live in now and the future world they will create. Children don’t need to be taught facts so much as they need to be able to understand how to use those facts in a way that benefits themselves and society.

Wellbeing, health and contentment are becoming more highly-prized than status or economic success. The successful human being of the future will be one who is able to find their most fulfilling role in life and to shape their career and life around their strengths, preferences and homelife. In career terms, this could mean working more flexibly, creating their own role/ organisation or choosing a totally different approach not yet envisaged.

In the future therefore, above all else young people will need creativity, confidence, adaptability and resilience. This is supported by Montessori. In Montessori we focus on helping children to fulfil their individual potential by supporting them to draw on their natural developmental drives.

Montessori also feels particularly pertinent in the light of new guidance from the Department of Education. As early years practitioners prepare for the introduction of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage  (EYFS) framework in September, many of those qualified in Montessori feel the approach is more relevant than ever. There is nothing in the EYFS that is not fulfilled by the Montessori approach. We believe that children are unique and need to be treated as individuals in an enabling environment specifically prepared for their needs, which is infused with supportive relationships with adults and children. When we focus on this and our pedagogy, the goals of the EYFS are naturally fulfilled.

The new focus on fine and gross motor control in the EYFS is especially welcome. Montessori is a “pedagogy of movement”, where helping children to have the physical skills to interact well with their environment is key to their learning and adaptation to the world; Montessori has always given great emphasis to this in the early years.

We were also happy to see the EYFS and the updated Development Matters guidance refer to executive function. Executive function is the mental functions that enable us to reason and problem solve; to exercise choice, self-control and discipline; or to be creative and flexibly adjust to change or new information. Research shows that executive function is well-supported in a Montessori environment.

Whatever happens at a policy level, the Montessori method will continue to develop and thrive, and with good reason – Montessori will always be relevant because it is not curriculum-based, it is focused on supporting the natural laws of human development. As long as humans are relevant, Montessori will be relevant.

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