Beginning A Journey: Through the Montessori Method

I’m Dave Power, the current marketing manager at Council Oak, but my journey with COMS didn’t start here. Way back in 1999, I arrived at the Lower Elementary classroom for my first day at Council Oak Montessori. I remember only pieces from back then, but my eight years with COMS shaped who I am today. After graduating in 2007, I went on to attend Brother Rice High School, Loyola University and Western Illinois University. Through all the twists and turns that the entry into adulthood took me, as it takes many of us, my Montessori education has guided me.

Now that I’m back at COMS, much has changed. The location and the faces are different, there is a garden and hot lunches now. There’s a robust music program and many other opportunities for students these days. However, despite all these changes, much has stayed the same. The spirit of Maria Montessori and the ideas, which infuse every day at COMS remain the same. When I walked in for my interview, I recognized these were indeed Montessori children. There’s something in the way they speak and in the way they carry themselves. My younger brother Matt saw it too.

I couldn’t tell you what makes up that Montessori spirit. Right now, that’s not something I can articulate. It goes deeper than the materials or the uninterrupted learning. My COMS education nurtured my natural curiosity well enough that it still burns strong. I am writing this blog to share my search for the “Montessori spirit.” I invite you all to join me. I will be reading Maria Montessori’s “The Secret of Childhood.” Lila Jokanovic, our head of school, was kind enough to lend it to me from her office library. I am surrounded by a supportive and knowledgeable staff. As I continue my exploration, I will undoubtedly rely on them in both large and small ways.

In the coming months I will do my best to distill the information found in this book. Follow me on this journey and we’ll all have a deeper understanding of this innovative educational philosophy. From the Forward to the book, we learn this is about something even deeper than education. Maria Montessori saw something in children that would help us to understand ourselves and each other – the secret of childhood. The writer of this book’s preface, Mario M. Montessori (Maria Montessori’s son and close associate), writes:

“This first American translation of The Secret of Childhood is a very welcome addition indeed – for our work in all English-speaking countries, but especially in the United States. For here (in the U.S.) a number of schools use Montessori only as a teaching method. Here also many people believe this is what she meant. They disregard what she most valued: the contribution the child can give humanity. I have often thought this notion should be disputed because of the confusion it causes, but where can one find a person to speak with sufficient authority?

Here is the answer. “Let Maria Montessori speak for herself.”

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