Although a reform of the national education system is under way, more and more parents are now turning to alternative education, convinced that in this area the diversity of children and their needs should be at the centre of their concerns. In a Montessori school, the methods applied place the child at the centre of learning, a caring and attentive approach to children, with few homework and no lessons.
Innovative learning methods in education
With the abandonment of traditional sanction-scoring systems, alternative schools are applying new educational theories within innovative pedagogical structures that re-enchant the school. There is no competition or tension related to marks, no pressure, but simply the pleasure of learning and progress. These schools offer a “new education”, they have abandoned the concept of homework and lessons, which is increasingly criticized, it would only serve to dull the children and get angry with them every night.
In these new practices, what motivates children is more about building projects that are oriented towards the outside world: real scenarios, such as writing a newspaper, staging a play, setting up an exhibition. The social development incentive is what makes the student most want to succeed, and is much preferred to the school situation.
The new Steiner, Freinet and Montessori pedagogies
The learning methods recommended by the Steiner, Freinet and Montessori schools have proved their worth for a century, but the National Education Department is still struggling to implement them.
These schools aim to transform young people’s mentalities and practices through a daily upheaval with a new way of doing things.
With regard to learning achievement, existing studies on these schools show that at the primary level, a majority of students perform as well in terms of learning, and even better, than in standard traditional schools.
These schools succeed in encouraging young people to enjoy learning. Students report that they enjoy going there, from kindergarten to high school. In addition, the climate is much more serene than in the traditional system. The atmosphere is calm, free of violence, with little or no degradation or incivility.
Within a Montessori school in Paris, all the programs are implemented in such a way that there is no notion of superiority. The child is accompanied as a person in his or her own right, whom it is important to support in order to develop self-confidence and find his or her own path.