Maria Montessori was the original prep. No, she was not a preppy kind of gal in the sense of one who goes to a school that typically feeds the top colleges and universities and wears boxy clothes and shoes, with distinctive speech, vocabulary and mannerisms. Nor was she of the subculture that emulates the preppy style. Maria Montessori developed a philosophy of education from the concept of the prepared environment. While the Montessori method of pedagogy stems from this notion of creating a structure and order  so that individuals can be free to explore and choose that which best suits his or her needs, the prepared environment fosters independence and responsibility to oneself and to others. Even with individualization we can create social cohesion.

Although Maria Montessori studied young children and developed her philosophy and pedagogy for educating young children, the concept of the prepared environment is useful in other contexts. Currently, we are transitioning toward a new era in health care and education in the U.S. Some people are skeptical; some are fearful; some are hopeful. Regardless of the emotional dispositions people may have, change is upon us, and while there are still many people who resist change (or deny the need or reality of these changes), there are great efforts being made to prepare the citizenry for the soon to be implemented Affordable Care Act and The Common Core.

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is intended to increase the affordability and rate of health insurance coverage for Americans. It is also intended to streamline and improve the delivery of healthcare outcomes with the additional aim of lowering Medicare spending. As these reforms are new, the new healthcare environment seems rather daunting. Best to be prepared. There will be a barrage of ads and public service announcements soon, so that citizens/consumers/employers will be prepared to choose intelligently. Meanwhile, you can begin to get educated by perusing  https://

And while we are discussing getting educated…..There is a new and potentially exciting educational reform being implemented called The Common Core. While some fear a federal government take over of education, and reflexively call for states to protest to assert their power to maintain their own education standards, the lack of cohesion and the lack of academic rigor that has plagued the nation under the previously scattered state standards has weakened our education system for a generation and created ill prepared young adults. The Common Core is an attempt to create common standards so that no state can dumb down the individual state curriculum or tests to get better results. The Common Core is a coordinated effort among governors and educators, parents and employers, using best practices and evidence from the U.S. and abroad, to create a more rigorous and deeper curriculum that is clear, consistent, and aligned with college and work expectations. The Common Core is more than benchmarks. It calls for a different pedagogy; one that creates deeper learning and application of knowledge that represents higher order thinking skills. Educators are preparing for this new education environment, and you can begin to prepare and educate yourself :

Through the prepared environment, we can more thoughtfully engage while meeting our own requirements and responsibilities. This is the seed of a healthy and educated society and civic culture. Now we are literally getting prepared for a potentially healthier and better educated society. It is possible to create a healthier, more educated civic culture. Prepare for success!

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