• Tim Seldin, Headmaster NewGate Montessori School

Joys of Learning, Understanding the Benefits of the Montessori Method


Sponsored By: NewGate Montessori IB

Sarasota has some of the most interesting schools in America, from New College of Florida, the Ringling College of Art and Design, to our public, private, and charter schools.

Did you know that Sarasota is also one of the nation’s centers for Montessori education?

Sarasota has several distinctly different Montessori schools in our community. NewGate School serves as the Lab School of the Montessori Foundation and has the only Montessori high school in the area. It attracts families from across America.

Sarasota is also home to the Montessori Foundation and International Montessori Council, which moved here from Washington, DC in 2002. The Foundation works with Montessori parents, educators, and schools worldwide and around the world. Other Montessori schools include Center Montessori in Bradenton (Toddlers-8th); Island Village Montessori Charter School (K-8th); Foundations Christian Montessori Academy (Toddlers-6th); and a number of emerging Montessori schools, such as Indigo Circle Montessori (PreK-3rd).

The International Montessori Council accredits Montessori schools, certifies Montessori teachers, and has more than a thousand members in more than 50 countries. In addition, there is Montessori Live, a Montessori teacher education program and Sarasota University, a new graduate school that uses Montessori principles to guide instruction.

Montessori, known for preschool programs, the years when a child’s brain is most sensitive and open to stimulation, extends up through high school, with more than 25,000 schools in 115 countries. Montessori appeals to parents who never want their children to lose the joy of learning. They sense that education should be a partnership among students and teachers; a journey, not a race.

Children do best when they feel safe, empowered, and heard. Montessori schools nurture students’ innate curiosity, creativity, intellect, and sense of engagement. Montessori students learn how to learn, have a deep global understanding, embrace an entrepreneurial spirit, hone executive function skills, and practice 21st-century leadership that leads to lifelong success.

Parents who consider Montessori for older students have seen the light going out in their children’s eyes as they become bored or overwhelmed by the culture found in much larger conventional schools. They tend to be talented, mature college-bound young people, who think outside of the box and want to learn deeply not just about their academic subjects but also about who they are as human beings and who they might become as adults. Montessori students have an exceptionally high rate of college completion, without being stressed out.

A graduate recently wrote: “I study electrical engineering at Georgia Tech. I spent 14 years in Montessori at NewGate and can confidently say that it works. It instilled a love of learning that will never go away.”

To get a sense of it, you just need to talk to some Montessori students.

For example, when asked “Is this your class?” a six-year-old told a visitor, “No, but I work here.”

Another was asked if it is true that in Montessori, students can do what they want. She responded: “No. We have a plan. But we like what we do.”

Tim Seldin is the President of the Montessori Foundation (www.montessori.org) and serves as the Headmaster of its Lab School, NewGate School here in Sarasota, Florida (www.newgate.edu). This is an excerpt from one of his books “How To Raise An Amazing Child”

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