Soft Skills


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I had an interesting conversation with a prospective parent recently who teaches at a local college. She shared that she and her colleagues are constantly discussing “how underprepared kids are for college in terms of ‘soft skills.’” By soft skills she meant skills other than the purely academic — the personal qualities, habits and attitudes that make someone a successful college student and, by extension, a good boss or employee later in life. She had just come from an observation in toddlers and primary and was surprised to have seen that in Montessori, “starting in toddlers students develop the self-motivation, independence, and follow-through that many college students lack!” In other words, beginning at these very young ages, Montessori children are already developing the soft skills that will benefit them so greatly later in life.

It was a pretty astute observation for a prospective parent seeing Montessori for the first time, and it got me thinking. When I talk to parents, I often describe a Montessori learning material, like the binomial cube, detective adjective game, or golden beads, that leads to the acquisition of academic or “hard skills.” Obviously, hard skills are important, but soft skills are equally so. Continue reading

Parent Resource, Practical Life Skills, AKA “Executive Functions”


It’s always inspirational to hear and witness the beauty of a Montessori student at work. Simple practical life works, such as washing a chalk board, can provide an immense amount of skills that the child will be able to use much later in their lives and in their academic career.

“It is often in the exercises of practical life that the child’s attention is captured, and in which the ability to focus, ‘concentrate’ and ‘repeat’ is first developed.”

“practical life activities…contribute marvelously to a child’s sense of responsibility and accomplishment, thus building self-confidence and self-esteem.”

The evidence of just how precious these exercises in practical life are, lies in the child’s appreciation for such purposeful work.

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From humble beginnings, come great things….

About the Author: Peter Davidson was the founding Head at the Montessori School of Beaverton, an AMI school in Portland and currently serves as consultant for Montessori in Redlands, an AMI school in Southern California.

Happy Reading!