One criticism leveled against Montessori education is that there isn’t a single standard for Montessori schools. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean individual schools aren’t holding themselves to a high standard established by Dr. Maria Montessori. And you need a way to show that your school is among those committed to practicing the best version of Montessori education. Crafting a “best practices” handbook for your school gives your teachers and administrators an agreed-upon standard to strive for. It also gives you something to show parents of students to prove your commitment to Montessori style education and explain what that means for your school.
Getting StartedThe best place to start is with Dr. Montessori herself. Best practice standards within a Montessori school have to come from the writings, words, and example of Dr. Montessori. Also, remember that Montessori conveyed much of her philosophy by teaching teachers, so pay attention to what the people who worked with her have to say as well. Coming up with your school’s best practices isn’t something one person does on their own. This is the chance to get several people working together and pull from their experiences and expertise. Combine your efforts to study, share, and discuss views on Montessori education and decide on how your school can best implement Montessori’s vision.
Four Key StepsOnce you have your group of people together, follow these four steps to define the school’s best practices:
- Come up with a list of questions you want to answer in your handbook. These questions should help you decide how your school will address specific issues, such as dividing up classroom age groups and how much time is spent outdoors each day.
- Examine Montessori sources to find answers to your questions. These should include sources directly from Dr. Montessori as well as Montessori experts you and your staff respect.
- Take a look at best practices outside Montessori education. Other educational systems can give you an idea of what kind of questions you should be answering and might even give you some ideas that would fit into your school system. This doesn’t mean the answers to the questions will be the same; you’re looking for topics.
- Write down your insights as a best practices handbook. This document is going to define practices within your school, so make it available to everyone on staff.