Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why Montessori?

Some of you might be wondering what this Montessori thing is all about and why I mention it now and then in my posts...

Let me first just say: I'm no expert. There, it's out!  If I'm an expert at anything, it is at not being an expert.  In everything.  ;)

For years I worked at a school that used the Montessori method for their preschool.  I was amazed and impressed by everything that I saw.  But it wasn't until my sister stayed with us for a summer while attending a training program to obtain her Montessori credential that I really fell in love.  She would come home so excited and would share with me bits that she learned throughout the day.  The little bit I learned from her helped me to understand the development of a child and thus be a better parent.

That summer, I really knew Montessori was for me when I hesitated as my then 10-month-old son squished his banana with his hands a smeared it all over his high-chair tray.  The neat-freak in me wanted to take it away, but then I remembered my sister talking about how babies learn sensorially.  It dawned on me that he had never seen, touched, eaten, smelled, or squished a banana before.  It was amazing.  And it was beautiful to watch his eyes concentrate and process the matter in front of him.  Here he was, too young for me to have a conversation with him and yet I could see his brain processing right in front of my eyes.  It was like I was given a window in to see how his brain was working.  It was incredible.

Then, after he had tested it in just about every way imaginable for a little man in a high-chair, he ate it.  Without me telling him anything, he figured out that bananas were for eating.

The mom in me wants to sentimentally tell you how I would have missed that incredible moment with my son if I hadn't known better.  However, the intellect in me confirms that babies are born with the ability to learn and to seek the purpose in everything.  And that's what I love about Montessori and why I want to have a Montessori-inspired environment in my home.  In short, I want to encourage and not stifle their innate desire to learn and seek truth.  As I've mentioned in my previous post, when children figure things out on their own, they thrive.  They don't need us to tell them they did a good job.

To me, the Montessori method is the humble method.  We help orchestrate, but otherwise we stay out of the way.

It's learning without limits.  We put up the fence (order), but then teach them to fly (creativity).

Is my home entirely Montessori?  No.  But my home is, and continues to transition to what I call, "Montessori inspired".  I have full knowledge that I won't be able to do everything perfectly or by the book, but I will do my best.

If you have time, this is a great video to watch about Montessori:

Montessori Madness

Here is a good explanation of Montessori:

What is Montessori?

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