Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard
Finished reading on October 6th, 2019
I have to start this review by admitting that prior to reading this book I might have heard the name Montessori mentioned a couple of times in some videos on YouTube, but had no idea what it was really about.
So let’s get to the book. This book reviews the scientific work that either supports or refutes or does neither with the Montessori teaching/learning method. In a Montessori class children rarely follow a lecture by the teacher or do work in a workbook, but are rather taught by (as I gather) mostly hands-on materials that are self-correcting or gather information on their own.
The students can choose what and when to concentrate on and there would only be a few occasions when the teacher present would stop a student from doing something (when it’s disturbing other students etc).
The book was very interesting to read as a new parent and as someone who has gone through a traditional education system – I just felt like I would have been really happy working with Montessori materials and choosing when and on what to work with peers.
The scientific work seems to support Montessori learning, at least some skills and at some ages are definitely improved when compared with traditional schooling. But I think one of the most important aspects would still be that students might be happier choosing their work, being able to concentrate on chosen work, and not being graded.
If I’d have the opportunity I’d most likely opt for Montessori schooling for my son. In part because I know how driving curiosity abut the world and how things work can be, and in part because children learning to read early sounds great to me as a bookworm 🙂
As an introduction to what Montessori education is about, it’s great – Lillard talks about some of the materials used in a Montessori classroom, the activities there and learning for mastery rather than grades etc.