Bobby George recalls his epiphany.
“The moment Steve Jobs revealed the iPad, it was as if a new world of possibilities opened up before our senses,” says George.
George and his wife, June, are creators of Montessorium, a company devoted to increasing awareness about the Montessori approach to education through the iPad.
Though the roots of the business first sprang in the classrooms of their Sioux Falls, South Dakota school, Baan Dek Montessori, it was Apple who truly allowed them to branch out to the entire igeneration.
“One day, after school, the four of us just decided this would be an incredible fun and worthwhile project to pursue,” says George. The “four of them” refers to Stefan Hartwig, Angela Hartwig, as well as George’s wife June and himself. “Angela and Stefan, with a background in technology, are responsible for the aesthetics and usability of our projects. For years, they were interested in creating something for children, and this was the perfect opportunity.”
The “something” has lead to two ipad applications practicing the research of Italian educator Dr. Maria Montessori:
“Intro to Numbers”, currently available in the iTunes App Store, and another on the verge of release.
Released in July, “Intro to Numbers” has received plenty of buzz among the iPad faithful, including being featured in the “New & Noteworthy” category in the App Store.
In “Intro to Numbers”, the objective is for children to not only learn the basics of math, but to understand and read numbers 0-9.
Montessorium’s next project, “Intro to Letters” is due for release sometime near mid-August.
According to company’s website, “Intro to Letters” will be a recreation of the sandpaper letters montessori activity which allows children to familiarize themselves with individual letters, building muscle memory.
To address the physical relation of Montessori and the handheld qualities of the iPad, George said, “While we do not advocate the replacement of the classroom, we are extremely impressed with how tactile, interactive and sensorial the Apple devices are! We have come a long way from the old days of television and one way forms of learning and communication.”
And just how do the apps truly harness the Montessori approach? George says, “our aspirations have only ever been set extremely high. We want to introduce an entirely new generation to the Montessori approach to education: to make Montessori a viable option for every single family on the planet. How best to accomplish this? Introduce Montessori to the world of apps, to place the Montessori method and materials at the simple tap of a child’s fingertips. Our goal is not to replace the Montessori classroom, however, but to jumpstart a healthy and productive conversation on education, further exploring the various ways in which we learn. The next continuum in educations starts now.”
For parents who educated ‘the old-fashioned’ way of public education, Montessorium offers advice to introducing your family to the Montessori Method.
“Our best advice is to search for your local Montessori school, make an appointment and visit the classroom. A wealth of information will be provided and help orient you towards your next step. From there, we would recommend researching the Association Montessori Internationale (www.montessori-ami.org) and the American Montessori Society (www.amshq.org), to learn more about accreditation and what an authentic Montessori experience has to offer your family. Both websites contain useful information on how to implement Montessori techniques at home, offering practical examples. For those interested to read about Montessori, we highly recommend Trevor Eissler’s fantastic book, “Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori.”
Both Montessorium’s apps are compatible with the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The apps are available in the Apple iTunes Store for $4.99 each.
For more information, visit Montessorium’s website at http://www.montessorium.com.