The Montessori Student
An excerpt from “A Student’s Reflections”, by Rebecca Makkai (from the book Montessori Today, by Paula Polk Lillard)
Rebecca Makkai attended a Montessori school in Illinois from age 3 to 13, and wrote this piece a few weeks before her graduation from high school. She is now attending college with the intention of pursuing a writing career.
In Montessori I was allowed to delve into venues of creativity, to explore interests, however fleeting, and to develop passions. And, amazingly, my teachers were as receptive to my presentations as I had been to theirs. They sat patiently through long skits and even longer reports; they listened intently as we raised our hands to tell stories, even when they knew they weren’t true.
We were encouraged wholeheartedly to create and experiment and explore. I found myself with more freedom in the fourth grade than I would have in my senior year of high school.
I figured out early on, as most of us did, that the Montessori teachers had handed us their unconditional trust. We were free to do what we chose, from picking what we would work on to moving freely about the classroom. I can’t imagine how different my education would have been had I been denied the basic rights to talk and move around – had I, like my other friends, viewed my teachers as wardens, rather than as friends.