Children who have been educated in a system designed to cultivate initiative and independence learn initiative and independence, Michael Strong reminds us:
Shortly after I arrived at The Emerson School in Palo Alto to create a Montessori middle school program there, three upper elementary girls, who would be entering the middle school in the fall, asked if they could speak to me. It turns out that they had been examining algebra textbooks and were requesting that I use a specific textbook in the middle school.
Now as someone who has also spent ten years working in non-Montessori schools, public and private, and consulted in hundreds more, the notion that sixth grade girls would unilaterally initiate a textbook adoption process, for algebra no less, and then present their findings openly, maturely, and politely to an adult male school director whom they had just met, is truly extraordinary. In the Montessori world, however, such behaviors are not surprising — children who have been educated in a system designed to cultivate initiative and independence learn initiative and independence.
It seems odd to have to persuade outsiders that a system designed to cultivate these traits succeeds in doing so (Montessori) whereas a system that is not designed to cultivate these traits does not do so (conventional education).