By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Oct 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM

What does a Montessori education really look like?

Prospective parents, prospective teachers, current Montessori families, the media and community members who want to learn more are invited to take a look as MPS – which operates the largest collection of public Montessori schools in the U.S. – hosts a Montessori Summit on Saturday, Oct. 6.

The summit – organized by MPS Montessori parents, teachers and principals – takes place at MPS' MacDowell Montessori School, 6415 W. Mt. Vernon Ave., just south of the intersection of 64th and Blue Mound.

The summit will feature a "glass house" demonstration at 1 p.m. during which attendees can observe Montessori preschool, elementary, middle and high school classrooms in session.

Prominent author Trevor Eissler – who wrote "Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education" – will speak at 2:30 p.m. He argues that those who spend 30 minutes observing a Montessori classroom will never see education the same way again.

Eissler's presentation will be followed by breakout sessions for those interested in learning more about Montessori, one for current parents and one for those interested in becoming Montessori educators.

"The MPS Montessori Community is excited to host parents, teachers and professionals from across Wisconsin and northern Illinois to talk about Montessori education and the success we're seeing with Montessori education in the district," said Phil Dosmann, principal at MPS' just-opened Howard Avenue Montessori School, and a former principal at Craig and Maryland Avenue Montessoris.

Milwaukee Public Schools operates seven Montessori schools, the largest collection of public Montessori schools in the U.S.:

  • Barbee Montessori, on the North Side
  • Craig Montessori, on the Northwest Side
  • Fernwood Montessori, in Bay View
  • Howard Avenue Montessori, on the Southeast Side
  • Kosciuszko Montessori, on the South Side
  • MacDowell Montessori, on the West Side
  • Maryland Avenue Montessori, on the East Side

In addition, MPS authorizes a charter Montessori school, Highland Community School on the near west side, for a total of eight Montessori schools within the MPS family.

Nearly every 3rd- through 8th-grader in the four longest-running MPS Montessori elementary schools – Craig, Fernwood, MacDowell and Maryland – outperforms the district average on state test scores. More than a third – 35% – exceed the state average. Two of the district's top 10 performers on the most recent state standardized tests were Montessori schools.

Montessori education was developed more than 100 years ago by a young Italian doctor named Maria Montessori – Italy's first woman physician – and is now embraced in 110 countries around the world.

In the Montessori classroom the students meet the Common Core State Standards adopted by both Milwaukee Public Schools and the State of Wisconsin by choosing lessons that have been presented to them by the Montessori teacher.

Students have the freedom to follow individual interests within the curriculum in multi-age classrooms – which promote leadership and mentoring among students – using Montessori materials that foster a deep understanding of concepts through hands-on activities.

This event is free to attend. Register online or at any MPS Montessori school. Same day registration will be available at the door.

"Montessori Madness" is available for purchase in the office of any of the MPS Montessori schools for just $20. Copies will also be available at the event for the same price.