As Term 3 draws to a close today I would like to share with you my own personal journey I’ve experienced over these past few months – a journey that has resulted in a deeper appreciation of the immense scope of Montessori education.
The journey began at the International Montessori Congress in the US in August. The “Guided by Nature” theme opened my eyes to the true nature of the child and the importance of connecting the child to nature and the wider world. Children are not only naturally curious and eager to learn, they are also innately drawn to amazing elements found in our world.
Recently I had the great privilege of joining the Wobbegong class on their excursion to Canberra. Here I was, together with a group of nineteen 9-12 year olds, out on our own learning journey to the nation’s capital. As usual, the children were impressive and a real joy to be with as we visited various landmarks and institutions such as the National Gallery, the Parliament House, the High Court, the National Archives, Questacon and the Australian Institute of Sport.
A trip like this never goes by without a few positive comments from tour guides or drivers relating their observations on the children and their behavior. One guide stopped me to comment on how ‘different’ our group was. She said, ‘there’s such a nice vibe I get from this group – they are really great kids’. When I explained a bit about Montessori education she realised that she was witnessing a group of children being true to themselves; able to self-monitor and apply their natural curiosity without being overly-controlled by teachers – something she rarely sees as a school-group guide.
This term’s journey has certainly opened more profoundly my appreciation of how a Montessori approach results in such incredibly solid mature Cycle 3 children who are comfortable with themselves and so open to connecting with the wider world. Their true nature shines brightly as it has been carefully nurtured and freed to create the unique individual – and completely accepted and appreciated by others.
I would like to express my appreciation to the teachers who nurture your child’s true nature on a daily basis, and especially to Fiona and Sheila for their constant and tireless work looking after the children on the excursion day and night. I also would like to thank Sue for all the organising she did to make the Canberra trip possible. May your term break be enjoyable and restful!
Bill Conway, Principal