Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Civics - The Montessori Way

Election Day has passed. I was amazed at how many students came to school yesterday proudly wearing an “I Voted” sticker. This badge of honor indicated how many of them had the opportunity to visit a polling station and begin to understand our country’s political process. However, as a school that embraces the Montessori philosophy of education, nothing teaches like doing.

Snack Election at The Boyd School - Reston
Children at a young age begin to understand cause and effect; or in this case, sow and reap. Early Childhood students at The Boyd School - Reston Campus were given a real-life and age-appropriate civics lesson. Yesterday, they were presented with two alternatives for the snack today; homemade ice cream or Rice Krispies treats. Votes were individually and privately cast. Today, the children will be making homemade ice cream as a result.

Students in the Upper Elementary School at The Boyd School - Westfields Campus participated in the Youth Leadership Initiative at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. After independent and shared research through the use of various media, the students were given the opportunity to form their own decisions based on each candidate’s platform. The culminating Mock Election yielded additional learning moments when their results clearly showed that personal preference and outside influence do impact the results when a blind vote of each candidate’s platform was far from in-line with the actual ballots cast.

Giving children the tools to make informed decisions and helping them understand the cause and effect of their actions will benefit them greatly throughout their lifetime.