The Seedlings is part of a worldwide Montessori community who believe that all children have an inherent passion for learning, and that teachers have a unique opportunity to fuel that passion into a lifelong pursuit. Rather than view education as something with a series of short-term goals, Montessori exercises a long-term holistic approach.The results of recognizing children’s inherent strengths and developmental needs, and meeting those needs in carefully designed classroom environments, are students who not only achieve academic excellence, but also students whose creative thinking and self-direction have been nurtured and truly prepare them to meet any future challenge or pursuit with confidence. Because we cannot predict the skills needed for tomorrow, it is important that our children know how to learn and adapt; we want them to have the ability to analyze, synthesize, and utilize information. The world is rapidly changing. As populations increase, resources become increasingly limited. We are more closely connected and interdependent than ever before in history. Social literacy – understanding, respecting, and being connected to others – is more important than ever; it is what can differentiate employees in the ever changing job market. The future leaders and innovators, the citizens of tomorrow, need to be prepared with a “new” set of skills.
What are 21st Century Skills?
• Ways of thinking- Creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, intellectual curiosity, and life-long learning.
• Ways of working- Communicationand collaboration.
• Tools for working- Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and information literacy.
• Skills for living in the world- Life and career preparation, citizenship, and personal and social responsibility.
Benefits of Montessori and 21st Century Skills
• Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Children are also free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualized learning plan.
• Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging “self-regulation” (ability to educate one’s self, and to think about what one is learning).
• Students are part of a close, caring community. The multi-age classroom—typically spanning 3 years—re-creates a family structure. Older students enjoy stature as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
• Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits. Working within parameters set by their teachers, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. Montessorians understand that internal satisfaction drives the child’s curiosity and interest and results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime.
• Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
• Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors. Given the freedom and support to question, to probe deeply, and to make connections, Montessori students become confident, enthusiastic, self-directed learners. They are able to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly—a skill set for the 21st century.
— Excerpt from the American Montessori Society 2014