Mario Valle Web

IMC 2017 survey results

During my talk at IMC 2017 — July 29, 2017

First of all I want to thank the 27 contributors to the survey. I hope to have deciphered correctly your handwriting.

I have learned a lot, also from an error I made. I numbered 1 and 2 the questions both in the first survey and in the second one. The people have circumvented this problem with very creative solutions.

Choosing a Montessori school compared to my experience

This first survey was focused on understanding how other parents decided to send their children to a Montessori school and how much this choice was “rational”, that is, based on knowledge.

Many parents know what they want for their children, choosing Montessori is a natural consequence. Unfortunately Montessori schools are not cheap and this is a barrier.

Word of mouth is very important. Maybe we can send info about Montessori schools also to other schools in the area.

Can we make simpler to parents to find info on Montessori? Can we show that the parent’s needs are well satisfied by a Montessori school?

Why did you choose a Montessori school?

I know what I want

Already know Montessori

Word of mouth

Not choosing a Montessori school

What did you know about Montessori at that time?

A little or nothing

A lot

Parent’s doubts and fears

Here I collect the results of the second survey questions, because the theme is common: the doubts and fears of the parents. I listed few of them during the talk and (at least one) parents agreed they are real problems. The questions were:

  1. What doubts did you notice in other Montessori’s parents?
  2. What are the most frequently asked questions you have ever heard from other parents?

The main concern for parents is about what happens after the Montessori school. This question has been extensively answered in the Montessori FAQ (and in Italian).

The difference with other pedagogical approaches should be collected somewhere, not to conclude “we are the best” or to denigrate other approaches, but to give to the parents data on which to decide the best school for their children.

Still you hear comparisons with the “real world”. See the comment of a Montessori school principal. Also, if we want to change the world, we cannot prepare the children to save the status quo. Maybe from our side we should improve and clarify our explanations of “They do what they want”.

The kids learn what they should learn? Parents lose control on the learning activities done at school (just to use the traditional language) and the children generally return home and at the question “What have you done today at school?” Answer: “Nothing” because there they did nothing special. They simply lived their lives. Maybe we should “train” parents to observe other changes in their children not related to academic evaluations.

Another struggle is between creativity or fantasy and the perceived rigidity of the Montessori method.

Comparing our school experience with the Montessori’s kids one is really difficult at times. For example, today a teacher with 24 children is always on the verge of nervous breakdown. Instead you read of the first Montessori schools with one teacher for 100 children. We should be able to transmit the reason of the difference.

We should finish with a last important point. If the parents do not care about what happens to their children, we can imagine very creative way to explain Montessori’s ideas but they do not came.

Here are the answers of the talk’s audience.

What happens after the Montessori school

Differences with other schools

The “real” world

What they should learn

Fantasy and creativity

In the classroom

Parents and school