Monday, January 27, 2014

Guest post: Legislators considering Montessori bill

Our guest blogger is Karen Woltman, a local Montessori proponent and co-founder of the Montessori Elementary School Steering Committee. Karen attended the Montessori School of Iowa City and her children have attended the Montessori Children's Garden in North Liberty. You can read more about the effort to start a public Montessori School in the Iowa City area here.

A bill was filed this week in the Iowa House relating to Montessori programs. If passed, HF 2045 would accomplish four things: 1) have DHS adopt rules for standards and procedures for approval of Montessori training organizations, 2) have the DE add a Montessori accrediting agency to the approved list of independent accrediting agencies for nonpublic schools, 3) have the BOEE adopt criteria for a Montessori endorsement, and 4) have the BOEE create an option for nontraditional preparation for the Montessori endorsement.

Montessori has been part of Iowa's education landscape for over fifty years, with Montessori programs located in communities across the state from Council Bluffs to Davenport and Dubuque. The Iowa City area alone boasts four Montessori programs serving approximately two hundred and sixty students in preschool classrooms each year.

Certified Montessori teachers typically have a bachelor's degree prior to beginning Montessori teacher training, and are fully trained in Montessori philosophy, methods, materials, curriculum, and child development.

It is hoped that the provisions of HF 2045 will support the efforts of existing private and public Montessori schools to continue to provide high-quality Montessori programs and support the creation of new high-quality private or public Montessori programs by recognizing relevant, high-quality Montessori training programs and a Montessori accrediting agency.

If you support Montessori education, please take a few minutes to e-mail your state representative and senator and ask them to support HF 2045. If you are uncertain who your legislators are, you can find them here. The Iowa Senate members and e-mail addresses can be found here, and the Iowa House members and e-mail addresses can be found here.

Johnson County is represented by:

Sen. Joe Bolkcom
Sen. Robert Dvorsky
Sen. Sandra Greiner
Rep. Dave Jacoby
Rep. Bobby Kaufmann
Rep. Vicki Lensing
Rep. Mary Mascher
Rep. Sally Stutsman

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