Empowerment is the essence of Maria Montessori's educational strategies. During the late 1800s she was the first woman to be licensed as a physician in Italy, and later changed her vocation to teacher. She worked with poor children and people with disabilities to develop a method for teaching the "whole child" to be an independent learner in a "prepared environment."
Today many of her "shared learning" strategies, and teaching manipulatives, are mainstream educational pedagogy in public schools.
There are a variety of private Montessori schools in Anchorage. One of them, Tom Thumb Montessori Schools, was founded in 1956 by Margaret and Harold Green. Mrs. Green became a national authority on the Montessori method; she taught the method to many teachers through the University of Alaska, and is still training teachers and participating in these schools as an advisor. Over 35 years she was outspoken against government involvement in the operation of her schools.
Public education serves an important role in society, but it cannot be everything to everybody. Those parents in Juneau who want a Montessori school should start one on their own. Why should everybody else subsidize a proven method that successfully teaches independence, creativity, innovation and autonomy?
Tom Thumb Montessori Schools