As educators in Montessori environments, our job is to create situations that lead students to the edge of understanding - between what is known and comfortable and what is yet to be discovered, unveiled and considered - and then set them free to make the connections that lead to the development of new skills and the integration of knowledge.
That students come to us all along a broad spectrum of abilities, interests, and predilections is to be expected. As such, we each have students that, at times, struggle. Our task is to work collaboratively to lift them when needed, kindly confront them when they balk, and walk beside them as resistance gives way to, at first, reluctant partnership - and then true collaboration.
There is no superhero, nor perfect program, that will “fix” the students amongst us that face the fiercest of struggles - but for ourselves… We, the Montessori collective, is what stands between their experience of the status quo and a truly transformed life.
Our job is to unravel the very essence of every child’s being who walks through our doors. Regardless of their family’s motivations for attending our schools, our work - our mandate - is to meet them as they are, give them what they need, and never give up.
Much has been made of the processes and protocols necessary to bring greater success (ease, comfort, joy...) to those who struggle - both the students, themselves, and the adults that support them.
Regardless of the mental model, unless approached holistically, these procedural blueprints trick us into a narrow, linear, and determinate way of thinking about children.
For those of us who have been in and around education for a while we have lived the reality that most answers are not what we expect, and - more often than not - are found through circling back and revising our own attachments, fears, and expectations.
How do we master this task? How do we move from a posture of fixing, problem-solving - or waiting for the help to come - to one that possesses the fierceness that calls us to action?
Our job is to, be dynamic, flexible, and open-minded; to scaffold, plan, anticipate, and co-construct; to interpret, bridge, team, and connect - all with the intention of providing what each child needs at this moment, and this moment, and at this moment, along their personal arc of biological and psychological development.
Our service to our students is embedded in who we are and what we do as Montessorians.
* Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework, a way of thinking, a mindset through which we can highlight student needs, risks, and opportunities - and then identify the next steps to employ in service.