STEM Educational Initiatives and The Montessori Method
Math and science work harmoniously in nature.
Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the US has called for an increase in scientific and mathematical education. Across the country there are new standards for STEM subjects, with educators being charged to be creative and engaging rather than just teaching from a textbook.
What does this mean for Montessori schools?
On March 29, 2012, the National Governor’s Association issued a brief on “The Role of Informal Science in the State of Education Agenda”. It calls for an increase in hands-on discovery and practice of STEM concepts, something that is already happening across all levels in the Montessori community. It also calls for the use of outside resources and ‘real-life’ activities that engage and focus student’s attention in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Again, Montessori teachers have been going outside the classroom opportunities to pique student interest and foster real-life connections for over 100 years.
In a typical elementary Montessori classroom, you will see the teachers using cooperative, hands-on inquiry-based approach for instruction in all curriculum areas, but never more so than with science and math. Students explore, observe, and ask questions. They discuss with each other and the teacher, investigating and exploring ideas. They research and are encouraged to draw their own conclusions and share their findings and knowledge with their classmates. This process is the basis for “learning how to learn”, gaining independence, and becoming life-long learners.