Educating boys

Metropolitan Montessori School is a great place for boys.

An Oct. 28 TIME magazine article offers ideas on how schools can help boys succeed. The author, Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute, advocates three ideas to reform schools. At MMS, we are already on board, but it’s nice to see our efforts validated and reinforced.

  • Offer more recess. We believe recess is a critical aspect of development for all children, not just boys. All children go outside for recess and, depending on their age, have 30 to 45 minutes of outdoor play daily. In Primary, children have a weekly PE class; in addition, we have a daily movement class for children with energy to burn. All Elementary children have PE. In fifth and sixth grade, the students go to the JCC once a week to work with JCC coaches and trainers. As with all our programs, we strive to provide the best for our children, and constantly review how to encourage physical fitness and overall health in our students.
  • Help boys become readers. Our literacy coach and classroom teachers offer a rich array of reading materials, fiction and nonfiction, to our boys and girls, and provide students with an opportunity to delve deeper into subjects of their choosing. On his website, Jon Scieszka, the author of many popular books for children including the Time Warp Trio series, makes the point that boys like “information, facts, true stories.” Our literacy coach, Anna Gratz Cockerille, has put together leveled reading lists that contain a broad range of subjects. The lists can be viewed on the Veracross parent portal. In Upper Elementary, where books are assigned for group discussion and analysis, recent selections for the sixth grade have included a memoir, China’s Son, by Da Chen; and the political allegory, Animal Farm, by George Orwell; and for the fifth grade, a historical-fiction novel, The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis; and a historical adventure, The Shakespeare Stealer  by Gary Blackwood.
  • Encourage boys to tap into their imaginations. Our boys and girls are developing confidence as writers, encouraged to connect the writing techniques that they are learning in class with ideas and experiences that are meaningful to them. MMS celebrates their writing with events where the students share their work with others. At last year’s Lower Elementary curriculum celebration, boys presented reports on dinosaurs, sharks, and volcanoes; and short stories about police officers and monsters. One boy chose to write a first-hand account of someone important to him: his little sister.

This work cannot be done in classrooms alone. We count on you to help by:

  • Providing boys with run-around time outdoors, and as they get older, sports opportunities after school and on the weekend.
  • Helping boys develop responsibility by giving them household duties, and promoting their independence and organization by teaching them to manage their things, schedule their time, and take care of their bedrooms.
  • Reflecting with boys on difficult situations and feelings, and how to handle conflict, rivalry, success, and disappointment.
  • Sharing your perceptions and experiences with your classroom teachers so that we can know other facets of your child’s personality.

A Metropolitan Montessori education is designed to help each child reach his or her potential. We respect the child’s individuality; we nurture his or her spirit; we expect boys and girls to respect others and to give their schoolwork their best effort. Our boys shine in their next schools and in life because they know themselves and have the confidence to pursue their dreams.