Becoming a Montessori teacher was a transformative experience for me. It gave me new knowledge on how to isolate science content that leads to easier understanding and retention. Montessori teaching also made evident the benefits of chillaxed teaching.
Montessori teaching posed some problems because it presented science in a somewhat static and isolated way. This led me to thinking deeply about the advantages and disadvantages of Montessori science. Does Montessori science align with the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS)?
On a quick glance, Montessori does not align with NGSS. But, when Montessori science is examined carefully it is meeting the science standards. Here are MY three main reasons:
Montessori curriculum relies on presenting the child a key experience about the phenomenon and then prompting testable questions that are specific and require in-depth thinking. NGSS emphasizes depth over breadth by insisting that teachers ground students’ learning in a scientific phenomenon. Meeting NGSS!
NGSS is grounded in a 3D teaching and learning paradigms. That is, designing learning opportunities that address key ideas, are interdisciplinary within the sciences, and include authentic scientific practices like those performed by scientists in the field. (That’s a mouthful!) Montessori classrooms have been using this model for decades. According to Maria Montessori books teaching and learning should be as authentic as possible. It also should be student led and not teacher led. Meeting NGSS, again!
Montessori education is centered in a cosmic education perspective. If you were to visit a montessori classroom, you would see science concepts repeated in the disciplines of astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry, history, and geography. That, to me, is a great advantage of Montessori over traditional schools. Meeting NGSS, again!
So, rock on Montessorians! Learn more about NGSS at the National Science Teachers Association.