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Whenever I have kids, I'd like them to go to a Montessori school, but I doubt if I'll be able to afford it...especially with the cost of living where I am.

Theres one of these in my neighborhood, and it just moved over a block from an old theatre to a funeral hall. I found that extremely amusing. B)

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What do people know about it? Does anyone know anyone who has gone there? I was looking at the website earlier and it made me wish I had lived in California when I was younger.

It has caused me to seriously consider moving there if and when I decide to have kids. And I live in Brazil.

It has also caused me to seriously reconsider starting a school here, though I know this country would punish me severely for doing good.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Lisa VanDamme has started a blog, called "Pedagogically Correct". Though just begun, it has some interesting articles.

I quote the following from the post where she introduced her blog:

We encourage you to forward Pedagogically Correct to friends, post its contents on your 'blog, or do anything else you can think of to spread the word about VanDamme Academy and our unique educational philosophy.

The other articles posted are:

Edited by softwareNerd
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  • 2 months later...

I had already read most of the blog entries as a subscriber to their newsletter and on Capitalism Magazine, however I re-read the material on the blog just now. Lisa's principles and actions, the results achieved and the testimonials from the students are inspiring. That, my friends, is what "doing good" is all about.

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I had already read most of the blog entries as a subscriber to their newsletter and on Capitalism Magazine, however I re-read the material on the blog just now. Lisa's principles and actions, the results achieved and the testimonials from the students are inspiring. That, my friends, is what "doing good" is all about.

A better model would be one which leaves the child alone to pursue his own interests in total freedom, without anyone else (parents, or administrators) forcing the child to learn what may or may not be useful. Even if it is useful will learning something that is FORCED upon you make you happy or miserable?

Such as The Sudbury Model

and Sudbury Main Site

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I stopped reading after this statement:

This attitude stems from the basic belief of the educational model, that every individual learns what they need to know through life and that there is no need to try and design curriculum that will prepare a young person for adult life.
Edited by ~Sophia~
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A better model would be one which leaves the child alone to pursue his own interests in total freedom, without anyone else (parents, or administrators) forcing the child to learn what may or may not be useful. Even if it is useful will learning something that is FORCED upon you make you happy or miserable?

So, you think that a newly-formed, barely aware conciousness should be left to decide, without any guidance from those responsible for it's development, what best suits it in it's search for learning basic skills with whch to allow it to pursue actively it's own interests when it IS adult enough to make decisions about how it wants to further it's knowledge-base?

The responsibility of helping to guide a child towards gaining a grasp of basics such as writing/reading, maths and the ability to comprehend lessons, and to think critically about them, is one of the most important parts of raising a child. Anyone who thinks that leaving a child to pick-and-choose what it wants to learn has obviously never watched the delightful chaos children love to experience when left to their own devices.

This is the type of thinking that lead to the 'Progressive Education' that destroyed a generation or two of childrens' gifts by refusing to instill the prerequisite skills into the children by assuminig that 'The child knows best' - even though the child has no frame of reference to make the choice and lacks a more well-developed heirarchy of knowledge with which to form higher-level concepts necessary to make long-range plans about his/her future.

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A better model would be one which leaves the child alone to pursue his own interests in total freedom, without anyone else (parents, or administrators) forcing the child to learn what may or may not be useful. Even if it is useful will learning something that is FORCED upon you make you happy or miserable?

Such as The Sudbury Model

and Sudbury Main Site

I am in agreement with Hakarmaskannar, above. The Montessori system cleverly avoids the pitfalls of both the progressive approach and the didactic Prussian system by taking a a less obvious approach.

Rather then control the child, they control the child's environment, letting him act freely within(exceptions are with regard to safety issues). This allows the child to act with freewill while still remaining challenged. The director in Montessori attempts to nudge the child toward new works close to his or her ability which they have a "reasonable chance of success" at completing successfully.

With the progressive system you advocated, there is great risk of the child performing tasks that are far too easy or too difficult for his level of development. This leads to low levels of accomplishment or low self-esteem respectively. It can of course, work for some children as can the traditional system, but that does not make it ideal or in correspondence with human nature.

Edit: I should add that particular teachers can overcome the shortcoming of the Waldorf or Sudbury by using the method I describe above, making the system more effective in some instances. My criticism is of the system and philosophy and not particular schools.

Edited by aequalsa
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Isn't the Sudbury model one of the D2's explicitly identified and scorned by Dr Peikoff and Ms van Damme in the education and child-rearing lectures of DIM??

Sophia is correct, that D2 mess is not worth any effort further investigating.

JJM

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  • 3 weeks later...

As a long-time student at a school based on the Sudbury model of education, I can speak to many of its benefits and its shortcomings. I've always been actively involved in promoting the school, and I've reflected a lot recently about whether it really is an ideal model. At this time, I don't know. I do know that it is vastly superior to the majority of schooling options available today, and that overall I am very pleased with my experience. I can tell you that my experience in school has had a significant influence on my values and my confidence in them, as well as my ability to live my life according to them.

I think that a flaw in most models is that day-to-day life consists of doing what others tell you to do, rather than following your own interests. Yes, you may learn math earlier at a traditional school. But at most schools, you'll hate it. When I discovered math, it was immediately inspiring to me (still is), and I pursued it with a gusto that may never have existed had I been compelled to study it. The same applies to reading, etc. For the same reasons that you need these skills in the "real world," you need them in the day-to-day pursuit of your life at school.

I attended a Montessori school when I was very young. I still remember feeling that it was phony - here I was told that my life was my own, and yet I had to follow a compulsory weekly curriculum, doing things that were frequently of little to no interest to me? I wound up forging my teacher's signature on the form that was supposed to confirm that I had done my allotted tasks within the allotted time period. At my age, this forgery was very easy to spot, and I'm happy to say that my mother took it as a sign that it was time for a change.

At this time, I can't imagine a better model than that of Sudbury, but I'll always be looking.

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I attended a Montessori school when I was very young. I still remember feeling that it was phony - here I was told that my life was my own, and yet I had to follow a compulsory weekly curriculum, doing things that were frequently of little to no interest to me? I wound up forging my teacher's signature on the form that was supposed to confirm that I had done my allotted tasks within the allotted time period. At my age, this forgery was very easy to spot, and I'm happy to say that my mother took it as a sign that it was time for a change.

Something to keep in mind regarding Montessori is that she did not trademark her name and the end result is that quite a few different philosophies fly under that flag. There are big differences not only between different schools but also between individual teachers in terms of understanding and following the philosophy. In judging the system it is important to differentiate the actual philosophy of the founder from individual practitioners of it. Not unlike the necessity of differentiating Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand from statements and beliefs of Objectivists.

The philosophy of Montessori, which she derived from direct observation, aligns strongly with a great deal of current notions regarding how our brains seem to operate.

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  • 1 year later...
What do people know about it? Does anyone know anyone who has gone there?

Dr. Peikoff's daughter Kira was homeschooled by Lisa VanDamme, and I think that once Lisa opened VDA those students she homeschooled continued their education there. VanDamme started out homeschooling five childern, then eventually started the VDA, which (last time I checked) grew in size from around 12-13 students to around 75 students. It might and probaby is larger than that now. Harriman, Lewis, are among the teachers there, last time I checked the teachers were all Objectivists, save for the Montessori teacher. That Montessori teacher was the only one that Lisa went out and found for VDA, the rest came to her: "if you build it they will come." Oh, they certainly did. She's had no troubles finding teachers, but once the school gets even larger, that may become a bit of a problem. I think she also prefers hiring teacher that don't have "teaching certificates/degrees" or whatever you call the teachers college grads papers. She hired two such teachers from public schools, but they didn't last too long.

I want to revive this thread so badly, because of the importance of the VanDamme Academy Way, Lisa VanDamme's approach to education, which she'd applied Peikoff's The Philosophy of Education , Objectivism in general to. Her approach is even better than the Montessori approach once the child is around six years old or so, for as she's said, there's no school in the world that does not violate the hierarchy of knowledge, but not at VDA were the curriculum is taught hierarchically. This is tremendously important in education. She's written numerous articles for TOS, has a newsletter/blog here called "Pedagogically Correct", and has many lectures on the ARB, of which I'm the very proud owner of all of them. They are selling off the rest of the cassette tapes at ARB and are deeply discounting/putting on sale various tapes that haven't sold out yet.

Many people understand that education is in desperate need of reform, but few recognize how radical the reform must be. What is needed is not a bigger education budget, a stronger teacher's union, smaller class sizes, or more rigorous testing procedures. But neither is the solution simply a return to Classical Education. What is needed is a basic, pedagogical revolution—a revolution in the science of education—a revolution in the selection of content taught to students, and the method by which that content is presented. VanDamme Academy is the leader of that revolution.

Yes it is. I think VDA and Lisa deserve much recognition in exactly what they are doing to education today: changing it. This is how Objectivism does education.

The TOS article she wrote in the first issue of the journal titled, "The Hierarchy of Knowledge: The Most Neglected Issue in Education" In it VanDamme praises Montessori for the very young, but then shows how her approach takes over as they age or mature cognitively/conceptually at right around age six. This is the definitive article out there on her approach, which is THE best approach out there in education today, IMO.

from said article:

I am fighting for it with my own school as a testing and learning ground and as an example for others to emulate. I am offering parents a radical alternative to today's schools: a school whose curriculum respects the hierarchy of knowledge; a school that presents the right material in the right order, producing students who are happy, confident, knowledgeable, and able to think. Let there be more of the same.

Yes, let there be! Let her method catch on like wildfire! Other methods have caught on like that in the history of education, but their fires, really only helped in destroying the educational field! Her method of approach won't wilt our little flowerheads, but help enable them to BLOOM!

Edited by intellectualammo
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