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Getting Parents to Understand Montessori

CONVENER(S): Walter Ebmeyer

PARTICIPANTS: five or six whose names I neglected to get?


First we have to clear up misconceptions: Montessori is a religion, a cult. We have to get parents to appreciate Montessori as a different means of education - like the difference between AM and FM. If all they think about Montessori is that it's a lovely little school with nice teachers, they'll be open to approaches from local Friends schools and the local country day. So our way to identity is to teach about Montessori and our way with children. So how do we do that?

Hold parents meetings. But few come, and they are the old regulars.

Get books into their hands - Aline Wolff's Parents Guide to Montessori or Kit Futrells' Normalization. But how to get them to sit down and read? They're all too busy.

The only time we seem to have their attention is during admissions tours and interviews. Get the message out then. Your admissions guides and interviewers must be true believers and must push the message.

Comments on the above:

Yes, yes! Interviewers and tour guides as true believers... and any other member of your community who is a true believer, as well. There's a small voice in my head that's been muttering about this question for years, though... I suspect the best way to educate parents about this -- indeed, to educate anyone -- is not to imagine more effective parent ed nights, etc. I think the solution lies in what's in that last statement. Members of vivid, engaged and healthy communities make our best true believers so it follows that efforts to *create and nurture even more vivid, enagaged, and healthy communities* is the surest way to dispel off-target notions and promote the method. A Montessori that's popping up everywhere, that's engaged in exciting charitable work, that is comfortable at the cutting edge, that offers the sum of its creator's works to the world... this is a movement that folks will want to know about. The answer to teaching more about Montessori is not a better means of reaching parents. It's in making Montessori a better movement.

Just my 2 cents, of course.


Don Jennings ([email protected])

Topsfield, MA USA

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Last edited February 15, 2003 9:30 am USA Pacific Time (diff)