The One Room Schoolhouse

I am always on the look out for any area where Montessori Education can take root and crowd out mainstream education, because I believe Montessori education is the best support for children’s development.

So when I heard that one room school houses still exist I was intrigued.  Growing up in rural Iowa, attending a school with hundreds of students I assumed one room school houses were only to be found in history books and the stories of my elders.

The truth is that a few one room schoolhouses continue to exist today, even in the United States and Canada.

A one room schools house is by definition a multi-age classroom requiring students to complete some tasks independently while the teacher works with other children.

This sounds to me like a niche custom made for Montessori Education.

A common solution for rural school districts troubled by shrinking enrollments is to consolidate with other neighboring school districts to create a mainstream school with children bused in over ever increasing distances.  Consolidation is necessary in a mainstream model school with classrooms of same-age children because a large population pool is needed to have enough 8 year olds to fill a single 3rd grade class., not to mention the 1st grade class, 2nd grade class, etc…

Montessori classrooms on the other hand are self-contained and accept children across a wide range of ages, requiring a smaller population pool.  Rather than needing thirty 8 year olds, a Montessori classroom simply needs thirty children between the ages of 6 and 9, or even 6 and 12.  Children could attend a Montessori classroom closer to home and spend less time on school buses.

Less populated states such as Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Utah, Idaho, and others might have a fiscal and geographical interest in exploring Montessori education.  Village and Missionary schools in developing countries might also benefit greatly from a Montessori one-room school house.  I wonder if the Peace Corps would be interested in the Montessori  Method?


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