Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Montessori evening in Hamilton

It's not every night you have the chance to hear a presentation from a world-leading Montessori speaker, so this Thursday make the most of the appearance of world-leading Montessori teacher trainer Cheryl Ferreira, who'll be presenting a public evening on 'The Child: A Social Being.'

Said Dr Maria Montessori, "The first step, is then to help the child develop all his functions as a free individual and to foster that development of personality that actuates social organisation."
But what exactly does that mean?

This is your opportunity to find out more and ask questions from one of today's foremost Montessori minds.

Remember, the Montessori philosophy of education offers much more than a philosophy of education: It is an essential aid to life.

And Montessori education -- education for the mind -- is an essential starting point for any sort of real change: a change to a culture that values reason.

This is your chance to find out more.  Why not get along.

*PUBLIC ADDRESS Thursday November 6th @ 7.00 -- 9.00p.m*
*Venue - Student Common Room*
*Silverdale Normal School**, **62 Silverdale Road**, **Hamilton*

Download the flyer for more details.


  1. Peter: We've a 9 month old and are slowly starting to look ahead to schooling options. I upweight Montessori, just because so many objectivists seem to go that way. But Montessori in our neck of Christchurch looks (to the outsider) to have a whole ton of environmentalist preaching that goes along with it. See Nova, for example, the one closest to us in South Brighton. On the plus side, it doesn't seem any worse than South Brighton Elementary on that front, as they've gone whole hog down that line and gotten enviroschool "silver" certification. But it's not as encouraging as I'd have hoped.

    Basically, I don't want my kid being taught to worship Gaia. Any Christchurch recommendations?

  2. As an Objectivist with a 20 mth toddler, and having done some research on Montessori and what's available in Christchurch , I can highly recommend River Road Montessori in Dallington, and Courtyard Montessori in Spreydon for 3-6 year olds.

    But you need to get along and see a classroom in action for yourself and make up your own mind, just as we did. River Road had a 1-2 year waiting list last time we checked, so don't leave it too long! Yes, Nova (the only primary school in Chch) do say a few wacky new-age things on their website, but so did Montessori herself! Doesn't change how brilliant her educational insights were - and how amazing a well run Montessori school is.

    Our impression of Nova so far is the positives far outweigh the negatives. We had a wander through the school on a weekend, and couldn't help but be impressed with how superbly laid out the whole place was. In the context of how brilliant Montessori teaching is, a bit of green preaching (which will be easy to correct if your kids have a rational framework) should be the least of your worries. You will be giving your kid an amazing start in life they can't get anywhere else.

  3. Thanks, Mark. The facilities at Nova do look great (peering in from the outside).

    Will have some work to do checking these things out come January.

  4. Crampton: I've responded to you privately. Hope it helps. :-)

  5. Crampton,

    I do not know anything about the schools in Christchurch however I do know that because a school is called Montessori does not mean that it strictly follows the teachings of Maria Montessori. This was because Montessori was a family name and could not be protected. Probably speaking to other knowledgeable parents would be a good start however I would always ask the qualifications of the teachers. To my knowledge the AMI diploma is the internationally recognised diploma.


    If you go to the research link on the above site you will also find some good research papers. Further, research by University of Minnesota academic Stephen Hughes finds that Montessori education follows a developmental approach which is now being validated by neuroscience.

    Best of luck


  6. Further, research by University of Minnesota academic Stephen Hughes finds that Montessori education follows a developmental approach which is now being validated by neuroscience.

    I'm sorry Julian, but this is just scientism. Neuroscience can no more validate an educational philosophy than it can validate libertarianism.

    Note that Montessori education emphasizes associationism and that in itself should tell you that there is something wrong with its educational philosophy. (also it's anti-libertarian)

  7. Actually, Brian, epistemologically Montessori education emphasises the child's independence, and his conceptual development.

    Which should tell you, in fact, that a) you've got it wrong-and b) there's everything right with it.

  8. Independence?

    Let's have a closer look. From the woman herself:

    THE sense exercises constitute a species of auto-education, which, if these exercises be many times repeated, leads to a perfecting of the child's psychosensory processes. The directress must intervene to lead the child from sensations to ideas–from the concrete to the abstract, and to the association of ideas. For this, she should use a method tending to isolate the inner attention of the child and to fix it upon the perceptions–as in the first lessons his objective attention was fixed, through isolation, upon single stimuli.

    The teacher, in other words, when she gives a lesson must seek to limit the field of the child's consciousness to the object of the lesson, as, for example, during the sense education she isolated the sense which she wished the child to exercise.

    For this, knowledge of a special technique is necessary. The educator must, "to the greatest possible extent, limit his intervention; yet he must not allow the child to weary himself in an undue effort of auto-education.

    Note the manipulation that is going on. What if the child would actually prefer some interaction? Or prefers to do Y instead of X? Or comes up with something the "directress" didn't intend?

    You carefully structure and manipulate a child's environment to attempt to reach some conclusion desired by the directress and you call that independence? That's what you do to those who need help and are in fact dependent. Let's keep the terminology precise.

  9. Brian, your dropping context.

    The child can't BE independent until he's had the conceptual training that allows him to think for himself.

    If you call offering a child what he needs to develop his mind properly 'manipulation' then your problem is not "imprecision" but something much more serious -- and the problem is wholly yours (and based largely on the Popperian fiction to which you subscribe that says concepts don't exist and therefore conceptual training is presumable unimportant).

    You see, the Montessori classroom sets up an environment in which the child's attention can be directed to materials that he will work with himself, and whose self-correcting nature invite the child to learn the quality that is being pedagogically contained therein. The child is offered a choice of materials -- a choice that allow a child to direct his own activities within the parameters of what the 'directress' knows he needs to develop his mind.

    Which is essentially what it means to say that a proper Montessori classroom encourages Freedom within a prepared environment.

    (And note that Montessori's favaoured term for a teacher, "directress," was not chosen because the teacher directs the child in what to do, as you seem to imagine, but because the teacher directs the child's attention towards the materials he needs for his development, and from which he gets to choose.)

    Frankly, if you want to know more about Montessori then you really do need the overview before you jump into all the details. A good place to start is the powerpoint slideshow at the MMEF website, and the other links therefrom.

    I invite you to check them out.


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