The Montessori Foundation supports a nationwide investment in high quality early childhood educational programs for children from birth to age six. We are concerned however that new initiatives allow for diversity in early childhood program models (such as Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emillia) and avoid harming the long-established nonpublic early childhood childcare sector.
We are closely following California Senate Bill 837, which provides for a “readiness” program for all four-year old children.
SB 837 will be implemented through public schools, charter schools, and private local schools, and administrated through the nearly 1000 school districts and the nearly 60 Country Offices of Education.
The Montessori Foundation supports voluntary access for all four-year old children to quality preschool.
But Senate Bill 837 must be mixed model delivery sensitive including the Montessori model, and other quality models.
In order to provide for a mixed delivery models which allowing for various educational models the proposed legislation requires inclusive language.
1. Transition Kindergarten children may be in a multi-age (3, 4 & 5 year old) program, such as Montessori.
An essential characteristic of the Montessori educational model is mixed-age grouping, i.e., children 3, 4 and 5 years old are in the same classroom together.
2. Accept teacher credentials from US Department of Education recognized accrediting agencies, such as MACTE and CITA.
SB 837 does not accept federally recognized teacher credentialing agencies. The Montessori educational system is nation-wide,
not regional. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing only recognizes regional accrediting agencies.
3. Recognize quality assessment instruments designed for various educational models. Montessori program are curriculum-unique and require a Montessori-quality assessment tool.
Quality rating and improvement systems are important, but typically measure a particular educational model, and not student outcomes. Therefore, a Montessori-QRIS is required.
4. Avoid co-mingling the public employee system of the School Districts and County Departments of Education,
with the private employees systems.
As presently written SB 837 makes the employee of the private local provider an employee of the public sector. This dilutes the relationship and accountability of the employee to the private local provider.
5. Allow for child-teacher ratios for private local providers as they current exist with the State of California Community Care Licensing child-to-teacher ratio standards.
The private sector has established quality educational models under the present standards.
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Last Updated (Saturday, 19 April 2014 12:01)