In the middle of Pioneer Square in downtown Portland a lot of work had gone into setting up “Montessori in the Square”, a public glass classroom. A tent was divided into three classrooms – a toddler, preschooler and primary environment – with Montessori children at work in each. Just imagine doing this work in front of all those onlookers! The power of Montessori.
It was amazing to see the children playing with the materials, interacting with each other, sharing their lunch, whilst the public peered on. The children and teachers were from local Montessori schools who kindly took a day out of their ordinary classroom, to come to school on the square instead.
The idea for this event was modelled on the Montessori Glass Classroom at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. This was a ground-breaking event at the time marking Dr Montessori’s first visit to America and gave a lot of publicity to the Montessori movement.
I wondered if this was the first time it had been done since. But it turns out that there are Glass Classrooms popping up these days all over, from Maryland to San Francisco. Maybe we should try one in Amsterdam one day too.