Montessori’s vision goes deep and will probably resonate with many in our agricultural community. The hope is to enroll children who need the peace of a farm environment such as those taken in by Fr. Flanagan in Boys Town, real life experience of Williamsburg, and the utopian utilitarianism of the Jewish Kibbutz adolescent community. It was at this time that Scouting was being developed and this too influenced her vision of what a program beyond age 12 would look like.
Unlike the other age groups, called planes, Dr. Montessori did not have a specific idea of what an Erdkinder environment would look like and only provided a general framework.
What would the absorbent mind of a young adolescent find interesting? How should the environment be prepared? The answers will only come with time as this type of program, which began in Amsterdam in 1926, was debated and discussed in America in 1977 with the founding of NAMTA, and a fully integrated American model began at the Hershey Farm in Ohio in 1997.
At this point in time, it has become evident that no “cookie cutter” Erdkinder programs exist.