The Montessori Method of education is a common alternative to the traditional classroom structure. It emphasizes “the development of the whole child” and allows students independence to learn at their own pace and in their own way. A Montessori classroom is decentralized and open, and multiple grades are typically combined into unified classes. Younger students manipulate educational modules like the Pink Tower of Blocks to learn foundational concepts, while their teachers provide guidance and encouragement and give structured lessons on the handful of concepts which the modules cannot cover. Higher grades have more structure and more direct instruction, but they still allow students freedom to follow their curiosity whenever possible.
Houston has several Montessori schools, public as well as private. Notable examples include The Post Oak School, School of the Woods, and St. Catherine’s Montessori (among private schools) and Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet and Wilson Montessori (among public schools).
Some parents are skeptical of the Montessori Method, feeling that their children would benefit from more structure and discipline. But in a recent op-ed, Montessori principal Diane M. Bauso of Auburn made an impassioned case for the benefits of the Montessori classroom. She argued that children have more opportunities for social development in a Montessori program than they would in a traditional classroom environment. If you’re considering Montessori as an option for your child, her brief article is definitely worth a read – you can find it here.
If you want to learn more about the Montessori Method, our sister site The Houston School Survey provides a more detailed overview here.