The Montessori method was close to being adopted in the US as the model for all public school instruction shortly before the start of WWI. However, in 1914 William Kirkpatrick (a follower of John Dewey’s) wrote a highly critical ‘expose’ on the Montessori method: The Montessori System Examined. In it he argued against Dr. Montessori’s use of scientific observation of children and her ideas of freedom and liberty. He believed the teacher to be the center of the classroom, not the child and argued that the teacher should direct all student activity. He argued for social group work before the child had approached the social second plane of development.
Montessori was for children to learn self-reliance and independence; Kirkpatrick argued the need for conformity through social pressure! He called Montessori schools chaotic and anarchist; traditional schools were models of properly trained, well-behaved children who did exactly what they were told. Montessori schools encouraged divergent thinking; traditional school children, he said, did not question authority.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, December 22, 2011.