CONVENER(S): Marilyn Stewart
PARTICIPANTS: Mimi Basso, Mary Cooper, Marilyn Stewart
SUMMARY OF DISCUSSION:
We discussed the importance of placing Montessori in the context of the whole spectrum of educational philosophies. This will allow us to show commonalities and also to point out what is distinctive about Montessori education. Using language that is not used by other educators separates us in ways that are not helpful and perpetuates myths about Montessori education.
We also believe that AMS should thorougly investigate congitive research that's taken place over the past 40 years, and should show how Montessori principles are consistent with the research on how people learn.
We talked about having AMS develop a campaign that shows that "MONTESSORI SCHOOLS ARE EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS." This would require a succinct statement that defines what we mean about effective schools. The statement could then be supported with a summary of the research that validates these elements. It seemed to us that original research is a second step to analyzing the existing current research and to seeing how it validates so much of what we do and believc.
We talked about the need for AMS to have a vision that is clearly defined and well understood by its constituents and by the public. A strategic planning session, perhaps modeled on this Open Space concept, could bring this rather disparate group together. The vision statement, supported by strategies and actions, could define the AMS conferences and would probably encourage participation of current "quiet" members.
We talked about the importance of aligning Montessori standards with others well known in the field (e.g., the ECERS scale, NYAEC accreditation). We were pleased with the progress made with comparing NYAEC accreditation standards to AMS accreditation, and look forward to the training of Montessorians at the Cincinatti conference in the NYAEC validation process.