We have gotten the question many times: are parents involved in Montessori schools? After all, some parents might be accustomed to public schools needing help and they expect parents to help out. Others might think that, as a private school, the parents aren’t needed in the learning process. It’s a legitimate question, and one that we’re more than happy to discuss. Short answer: yes, parents should certainly be involved! Long answer…well, keep reading.
IT’S WHAT BROUGHT OUR FOUNDERS TOGETHER
There were many shared beliefs that brought our founders together. Perhaps most important was the idea that a Montessori school should be open year-round. But another shared interest was that parents should be involved as much as possible. As we say on our Our Story page, we want PVMA to be an extension of the home. We know that kids should be learning in both places, and that just because the location changes doesn’t mean that the learning should stop. That doesn’t mean homework, it simply means that…
OUR METHODS HAVE TO BE REINFORCED
You’ve probably heard of the term Montessori method. It’s not about memorization, and it’s not about teaching something specific. It’s about teaching kids to learn how to learn. We’ll go over this with you, and discuss how it is implemented in classes throughout the day. The kids will be learning this method unconsciously, but there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to learn it consciously. As we’ve said before, we want to be partners with you, just as you are partners with us. The Montessori method will work without the parents’ help, but you’ll be amazed at what it can do when it’s reinforced throughout the day.
WHY DO OTHER MONTESSORI SCHOOLS DISCOURAGE PARENT INVOLVEMENT?
Why do other Montessori schools discourage parent involvement? Well, perhaps “discourage” is too strong a word. But unfortunately, they don’t encourage it nearly enough. That’s because some of them adhere a little too strongly to Maria Montessori’s original teaching method, which started out much more clinical and didn’t invite parent involvement. Part of this decision might have been to avoid contaminating the data in these experimental schools; involving only some of the parents would lead to unreliable data when compared to those students whose parents were not involved. Another equally important reason she might not have involved parents was that the parents probably wouldn’t have been interested, considering they were low-income and probably working 12 hour days, seven days a week at the beginning of the 20th century.
In other words, adherence to the original method can make a Montessori academy shorts-sighted to the benefits of full parental involvement.
WE KNOW THAT MONTESSORI SCHOOLS HAVE TO EVOLVE
It’s been 111 years since Maria Montessori started her first classes, and we don’t have to tell you that the world has changed since then. There’s no doubt that we still use many of the teaching tools that she did, and we certainly spend a lot of time outdoors and away from screens. But Dr. Montessori herself was always looking for advances, ways to improve what she already knew. In fact, after she opened her first school she spent the next 46 years improving on her methods, traveling the world to find out how they did, and didn’t, work in various cultures. When she died in 1952, others kept her methods alive. Some adhered to the old ways, while other continued improving on them. After all, the Wright Brothers made improvements to their own airplanes, but those in aeronautics continued to improve on what they started and do so today long after they are gone.
We’ve invited the parents to be part of our Montessori teaching, to “to meet and discuss difficult topics, and to triumph successes together.” And it certainly seems to be working! How do we know? Because we filled our Golden Valley location and just opened up our second Peaceful Valley Montessori Academy in Eden Prairie. As long as our vision of Montessori continues to work for the parents of our students, we’ll continue to open as many schools as it takes to meet demand.
We truly believe that teaching kids should be a partnership between parents and the educations you’ll find at PVMA. You probably have questions, and we’d love to answer them. Contact us today!