We just love Montessori at our house. And by we, I mean—I. I just love Montessori. I do much at home with the girls that is rooted in Montessorian philosophy and play. Nora also attends a Montessori school a few days a week. Here’s why:
Reason #1: Multiage Groupings
Nora is in class right now with other children ages three through five. She refers to the kids as little, like she is, or big. On the days she gets dropped off in the car line, an older student, usually a safety patrol, holds her hand and walks her in the school to her classroom. She loves this. It is one of the highlights of her day. I love that she gets to observe and participate in the diverse academic lessons geared to her older peers. She’s also exposed to various leadership roles and different developmental stages of older classmates.
Reason #2: Independence and Freedom
Since our girl has been getting herself dressed and choosing her own outfits since she was two (most days I have to hold my tongue to discourage myself from commenting on her mismatched choices or suggesting something else entirely), and insisting, like most children her age, that she can do EVERYTHING by herself, she fits right in in a classroom where young people are encouraged to choose their own “work” and move about the space as they please. The bathroom is down the hall, not in the classroom, and she can go when she needs to. Just last week she told me she was chosen by her teacher to walk with a classmate from the second floor, where her room is, down to the lobby to give a note to the secretary. She and the friend had to navigate through two hallways, heavy doors, and a stairwell, and back again. How empowering! I love imagining the little people coming and going places in the school all day long.
Reason #3: Uninterrupted Blocks of Work Time
I work in a public school in an urban district. The pace of the day is hectic. Students move from one subject of learning to the next. It often feels like there is no time for depth or mastery, investigation or application. It is one of my greatest frustrations as a teacher. So, when I hear frequent reports from Nora that she has done work with puzzles, cutting fruit, or tracing sandpaper letters—her three favorite, recurring activities—I am pleased that she is allowed (encouraged!) to work on the same things, over and over, that pique her interest and give her confidence in her abilities to solve problems, and practice and master new skills and concepts.
Also noteworthy this week:
Nora came home and told me she sang Happy Birthday in school. When I asked her whose birthday it was, she said “Martin Lufer King!”
She told us she has a cousin Oscar, who lives in Europe (completely made up, but note the continent knowledge!).
Now, if only we could figure out a way to afford to send her next year as well, we’d be all set. Her sister, on the other hand, may have no chance at attending in another year, since sending two kids at the same time seems like it will put us in financial ruin. Sorry, Franny!