Gifted & Talented in Montessori
Our Montessori school does not have a "gifted and talented" program, and our school is full of gifted students. We want to take a moment to tell you how that works and why many families of high-achieving kids find Montessori an ideal setting. Montessori educates the whole child, and it meets all children where they are. Because it strives to make children independent learners, and because it does not set up stark divisions between what one age "should" learn and what belongs to another, Montessori allows children to run with what they can do exceptionally well, even as they may receive more pointed help and instruction in another area. Our teachers also make sure that rigorous, creative, and interesting learning experiences--what parents often hope will be found in a gifted program--are part of everyday life for all students.
Finally, we want to share something that matters a great deal to many of the parents in the school: the special way Montessori can educate high-achieving students without labeling those students up front. This is something that matters to our community as a whole and has effects that continue beyond BPMC. As Dr. Katie Brown Golfus explains in her account of Montessori's impact on public education:
Gifted students in a Montessori classroom are not held back by the pace of their teachers’ instruction, their peers’ learning, or the curriculum guide. Being in a multiage classroom grants them exposure to materials, concepts, and peers that are chronologically above their grade level. If some gifted students in urban contexts are not being identified due to bias or cultural incompetence, or have simply not been identified at the preschool level, then the Montessori method allows them to reap the benefits of acceleration and differentiation that characterize gifted education, even if they are not given the label. While this does not negate or fix the problem of underrepresentation, it would at least better meet the needs of unidentified gifted students whose talents are not being properly developed.
(full research paper)