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.


Fire up those neurons, loosen those lips, press the elevator button, and hang on for the first official Montessori Elevator Speech Contest. We want YOU to enter!

The contest will be held during a breakout session at the International Montessori Congress (in Portland July 31st through August 3rd, 2013).

All submissions for the contest must be received by June 30th. Send in your elevator speech NOW! Encourage the parents and teachers from your school to send in their videos too. Check out all of the videos submitted to date at the "MontElevatorSpeech" channel on YouTube.

Submit a video of your Elevator Speech to If needed, I will send you a link to a DropBox folder for easy transfer of the file. Send more than one entry if you wish!

If you would prefer to send a written text, that is OK too! Make it around 100-150 words so that it can be read in less than 60 seconds. All of the latest written entries are posted below.

Keep in mind:

—60 seconds or less

—Prizes for the winning submissions are being provided by Nienhuis, Mad About Montessori, Maitri Learning, Montessori123 and more to come.

—Your video (or written text) should answer the question “What is Montessori?” or “Why Montessori?”

—Rules can be changed at the whim of contest organizers, Trevor Eissler and Mark Powell, for the fun of it.

—Videos received are the property of contest organizers. We reserve the right to edit submissions. We may modify them or use them in a montage or for other purposes. We may allow others to use them for Montessori advocacy purposes.

—If you don’t have access to a smartphone or video equipment, you may send a written version of your elevator speech.

All of the latest dozens of video entries for the Montessori Elevator Speech Contest (to be held at the International Congress this summer) are posted as they are received on the "MontElevatorSpeech" channel on YouTube. Below are posted those entries that are submitted in written form instead of video:

Written Entry #1 Montessori is multi –faceted. The takeaway from Montessori education can be very unique and personal. To some, it is a “method” for achieving academic excellence. To others, it is the benefit of hands-on learning that is very appealing. To me, Montessori is a path to self -discovery. Montessori is a place where children and adults collaborate in a “prepared environment”- A habitat that fosters compassion, respect, independence and interdependence. The child owns his/her learning and the adult follows the child. The guides/teachers are the “custodians” of this environment. They are the silent observers, listeners and facilitators. The ultimate goal is that the passion for learning must come from within the child. That’s when ideas are born, thoughts and actions take shape. And thus begins the journey towards self-discovery. Experience this yourself! Join me and visit a Montessori and find out -“What is Montessori?”

Written Entry #2 Maria Montessori was a physician and anthropologist who observed that children learn much better when nurtured in a Prepared Environment. Through physical repetition of touching and seeing different materials, the child develops a natural sense of respect of his or her surroundings and becomes self sufficient in their own development. Independence is the ultimate goal and Dr Montessori believed that in the classroom, the child is the leader; and that puts the teacher in the role of a facilitator. As a substitute in two Montessori schools, my advice would be to visit an accredited Montessori school and observe a classroom. They are very generous with letting curious parents have an opportunity witness curiosity at its most natural form.

Written Entry #3 The Montessori method is the ultimate "hands-on," "multi-sensory" education. Everything in a Montessori classroom is 3-dimensional. Children are inherently motivated to learn because they are given opportunities to touch, hold, and handle materials. You won’t find alphabet cards hanging from the ceiling, rather actual letters that children feel with their hands to learn sounds or construct words and sentences. Children don't look in a book to find out what trapezoids, octagons, or rhombuses look like, they go to a shelf and pick them up with their hands. When learning about landforms such as peninsulas, islands, or isthmuses, children pour water into clay molds to see right before their very eyes how the water juxtaposes the land. As a former "traditional" public school teacher, I was sent to trainings to learn “differentiated instruction” (individualized teaching) and “integrative curriculum planning” (teaching subjects across curriculum). Come to find out, these are the basis of the Montessori method, created 100 years ago!

Written Entry #4 It’s paying attention to the child; their wants, their needs and their interests. When children are interested in something and get to learn about it in a focused, easy -to –access, well -thought -out, active , hands on way and then experiment with their own ideas about it, by themselves or with some friends- they learn so much more than if they had to sit down and just listen to somebody blah blah blah… at them. Teachers or guides, support basic human rights such as freedom within limits for the children to move, be heard, given the benefit of a doubt, ask questions, create their own work and instill complete respect no matter what culture, race or religion they are.
The environments are key to the success of everyone; being cheerful, culturally rich, aesthetically pleasing, well organized, uncluttered and comfortable, weather they are in or outside, they are vibrant, working, playful, peaceful communities where everybody counts and contributes. I hope you, your child or a friend can experience one. It will change your life for the better of forever.