A Q&A with Austin Montessori’s Veronique Mareen
How have you inspired or encouraged your students to follow their entrepreneurial dreams?
In a Montessori classroom, one of the goals is to connect students to real work. When adolescents have ownership of their work, and they feel supported in taking initiative, they are excited and motivated to commit to work.
The role of the adult is to guide, work alongside, help problem solve and introduce curriculum and techniques that will help the adolescent succeed. The Gaines Creek Farm/garden is central to many micro-economy projects. On a daily basis, students have the time and resources to dedicate their attention to a project. Some of the projects were started several years ago, and the products are still a part of the market selection available today. An example of such a product is our Pop and Shake, a seasoning blend that is delicious on popcorn. Sometimes, students who have a special interest take on the role of manager. They help organize and plan the work that is connected to a certain project. In our weekly community meeting, they engage other students who want to help with the projects they lead.
All of the above is to illustrate that when ownership, support, and partnership combine in an environment that is deliberately set up to serve the needs of the adolescent, the natural inclination of the young entrepreneurs to think creatively, problem solve, and work in teams not only happens, it flourishes.