The World Outside the Classroom
For Elementary and Middle School students, the classroom experience is not enough. They are seekers, trying to understand the wider world—the natural environment as well as the physical and social worlds built by humans—and their place in it.
Reading books, looking at pictures, watching videos, or listening to stories can help students. These are necessary but not sufficient. First-hand experience deepens understanding and makes ideas both concrete and memorable. Beyond this, travel provides a real opportunity for community building, and the development of practical life experiences beginning with planning the days, making arrangements for airline tickets and hotel accommodations, and packing your bags. It then extends to money management, navigating the subway, using a hand net to collect specimens, paddling a canoe, cooking for 20, and dish washing, as well as many chances to practice grace and courtesy. Guided by their classroom teachers, students develop practical and social skills to become increasingly independent and savvy travelers. It is no wonder that neuropsychologist Stephen Hughes said, “Montessori kids are good at doing things.”