MPA recently hired a wonderful new science teacher who graduated from college this spring with a major in biology and a double minor in chemistry and marketing. It was a combination difficult to ignore. She also indicated she wanted to keep growing, keep learning, keep adding value to our institution. We were sold.
If she sounds like a Montessori kid, you're not far from the truth. Her brother graduated from MPA three years ago and went straight to Rock Valley College. However, she seems to possess the Montessori gene without having attended our institution; both she and her brother think for themselves and look for opportunities to develop and hone their abilities.
It turns out recent research shows double majors are in fact more innovative and earn more than their traditional peers. What are the qualities of a double major? From an article in The Conversation come these thoughts: "Perhaps double majors are the kind of students who need more than many programs offer. It could be a signal of proactive and creative choice for students who don’t fit the mold in terms of how higher education is currently delivered. Double-majoring might also provide students with experiences in which students see connections between content in different courses. Additionally, taking classes required for two majors might increase networking with peers across disciplines."
We see the same things in the Montessori classroom, particularly at the elementary and middle school ages. The connection of subjects is something Dr. Montessori emphasized repeatedly, that schools should not teach mere facts; rather, schools should foster an environment where children discover the connection of subjects for themselves. It's this self-discovery that creates excitement for children, for they feel they're unearthing something completely brand new, something no one has ever thought of previously. This is the very definition of innovation.
As for networking with peers, Montessori children are constantly working with one another on a variety of tasks. Whether it's cleaning the classroom at the end of the day, watering the gardens, or working in groups in their core subjects, Montessori kids spend many hours learning to collaborate with personalities different than their own, all of which aid in overall development.
The Conversation concluded its article with a recommendation we heartily endorse: "While certainly our data demonstrate that double-majors are the most innovative, we do not conclude that this academic pathway is always the best choice for students or industries. What we do suggest, however, is that colleges and universities help students find ways to integrate material across disciplines, interact with each other across majors, and work on teams to solve real-world problems."