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The proof is in the…

published: 2008-09-04

We visited another school for our son. This school was a special education school. Its philosophy is ‘we follow the child.’ Its method is called Montessori. The teachers don’t stand in front of the class, they sit and wait until the pupils – who work by themselves – come to them whenever they’ve finished whatever it is they choose to work on.
Much to my surprise, every classroom had a calm serenity to it. The children were polite, soft spoken and extremely well behaved. On glancing at the snacks they had with them, I noticed slices of cucumber, apples and oatmeal crackers.
I myself attended a uniformed, all girls school in London, where we had to jump up (feet together, hands down and palms facing your legs, shoulders straight) when a teacher entered the room and chant “good-moooor-ning misses Lavender.”
We’d have to wait for her to say “sit down class” which sometimes took ages. She’d sit down and glare at us, hoping to catch someone fidgeting. There were hot lunches, a dunce’s hat and we were taught Latin at the age of 10. Once, an encyclopedia landed on my head because I was whispering during Geography class.
Therefore, I found it only logical to ask the headmistress of the school we visited for our son, “what punishments do you give the children?”
“Punishments?” she gasped in shock, and initially avoided answering my question.
Later on she took me aside and said, “we don’t punish the kids here, we talk to them.”

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