Montessori Madmen

Advocating Montessori

We're an impatient, ragtag group of dads and advocates from around the world, united by a common zeal to bring the Montessori method to millions more. Our mission is simple: to advocate for Montessori education so that one day it's not called Montessori school; it's just called school.

Montessori Elevator Speeches

From Seth Godin’s Blog on Elevator Speeches:

The purpose of an elevator pitch isn’t to close the sale. The goal isn’t even to give a short, accurate, Wikipedia-standard description of you or your project. And the idea of using vacuous, vague words to craft a bland mission statement is dumb. No, the purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.

Here’s an elevator speech culled from Trevor Eissler’s YouTube video:

My three children attend a Montessori school, and recently a fellow parent told me of her own bright, engaged, inquisitive son, who had attended Montessori for a few years, until a job loss in the family forced her to enroll him in a nearby, free, conventional public school. As she picked him up from his new bus stop—day after day—she began to notice something.

She said, “I saw the light in his eyes dimming. His flame was extinguishing.”

She didn’t talk about her son’s grades at the new school, nor about teacher qualifications, class size, or extracurricular activities. She didn’t talk about how he would compete with China or increase our GDP.

She talked about the flame inside him. Dimming. Extinguishing.

To me, the fanning of this inner flame, the inner drive to learn and to develop, is the core contrastbetween Montessori schools and conventional schools. Conventional schools assume children need incentives for learning: gold stars, A’s, honor roll ribbons, popcorn parties. If they don’t respond, they must be dealt punishments: bad grades, trips to the principal’s office, etc.

Montessori schools assume the opposite:  Children do not need to be forced to learn. In fact,children are naturally interested in learning.

Take a look at any child prior to kindergarten. They touch everything, pick it up, turn it over, taste it. Prior to setting foot in that first classroom they’ve learned how to stand, walk, swim, sing, count, ride a bike, tell stories and jokes and lies – some can even read! And then these energetic, engaged, accomplished six year olds turn into twelve year olds who ask, “Is this gonna be on the test?”, or, “Are we getting graded on this?”

That flame they had at age six didn’t burn out on its own. We smothered it!

In contrast, Montessori Schools stoke that flame by promoting hands-on, self-paced, collaborative, challenging, and joyful learning.  They encourage divergent thinking instead of convergent thinking - innovation instead of standardization.

Montessori does all this with No grades. No tests. No homework.

—Send the Montessori Madmen your Elevator Speeches for readers to share and use in their own conversations! Send us your elevator pitch that describes a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.