Why We ‘Montessori’

montessori, home, toddler, homeschool

I have always been passionate about all things ‘learning’. As a child I spent more time playing teacher than most and many of my fondest memories are those laced with a moment I realised that I helped someone to learn something new. So it was only natural that as a mama, I want to be involved in their learning. It was pretty clear to me, even as I merely dipped my toes into the many facets of the education system, that mainstream education simply wasn’t something I wanted for my children. This isn’t in some elitist, pompous way, but simply that my experiences and values make me feel differently. I was consequently drawn to finding out more about different methods of education.

The best thing about getting involved in this learning curve pretty early, was that I got to make hiccups along the way and find what fits fairly early. Sure, I’d love if I had have studied Montessori prior to having children, had hands on experiences in Montessori classrooms and prepared for things prior to Cameron’s birth. But I incorporate Montessori in our lifestyle for much more than the idealised version of Montessori in my mind.

We are not even close to being ‘Montessori purists’, nor would I want to be even if I could. I love our eclectic blend of lifestyle & learning.

From me (and most others who are interested in Montessori methods), Montessori isn’t about academic outcomes or racing towards independence. It’s certainly not about forcing knowledge.

Montessori, for me, has a lot to do with the unmeasurable, the intangible and invaluable. The life-long love of learning and discovery, the self awareness, the self-confidence, the ability to contribute, be heard, question and challenge things and make mistakes. It’s about working with (not against) the individual child and keeping their childhood.

montessori, activity, vegetables, tot school, language

I love the way that the Montessori method challenges and changes the way that many people view children (as well as many other approaches that I adore – i.e. Reggio Emilia, project-based learning). Cameron and Lucy are little individual people and I get to nourish that. I follow their lead and get to learn almost as much as they do along the way.

montessori, practical life, transfer

Another reason I Montessori is because so many of the menial gripes I hear about motherhood are avoided or minimised due to how our home is set up and the activities we do. For example, I have very little problem with lost or broken toy/material/art pieces because of the emphasis on respect and ownership. Another example is that I don’t have children nagging at me to play with dough or do a drawing – they have all they need at their little fingertips.

easel, kids, montessori, art, painting

Mostly I Montessori because, quite simply, the results are quick and positive. I have witnessed many a proud grin as my son or daughter accomplish something for the first time all by themselves. I have seen countless periods of long concentration by tiny humans engrossed in something seemingly simple. I have witnessed the magic of my little ones repeating an activity again and again.

diy, montessori, colour gradient

That is not to say that Montessori solves all, or that you can’t have these outcomes without it. But it’s worth it for us to make those changes (in our thinking and our home) which have great benefits. This is why, despite the costs, we hope to get our children into Montessori schooling.

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10 thoughts on “Why We ‘Montessori’

  1. As you mentioned, I love following my little guys lead. I have to catch myself from showing him how to play a certain or use a toy. When I remember and keep my mouth shut, I awesome to see what he comes up with. How else will I figure out what really interests him unless I keep quiet and observe – as you say, learn with him!? πŸ™‚

  2. For all the reasons we do too πŸ™‚ I think if I ever went back to teaching I would do things so differently now. My entire image of the child has changed. I used to do everything for my students, prepare everything, guide their learning. Now I observe and follow. So much more peaceful and natural.

    A lovely post Rach πŸ™‚

  3. Excellent post. I love your take on Montessori and why it works so well for you. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a Montessori “purist”. I used to think so, because there is some very “all or nothing” type Montessori training out there, but now that I am focusing more on Montessori’s own words and research, it is clear to me that she was very much influenced by and interested in a variety of educational methods. (Itard and Seguin are the most obvious examples.) So to completely disregard other educational philosphies and new scientific research seems to me a bit “un-Montessori”. At any rate, this post illustrates how beautifully Montessori can fit into a home with small children.

    • I love this comment πŸ™‚ YES! I agree wholeheartedly! Montessori was revolutionary for her time because she was so open to different methods. Her work is still so relevant because she recognised the abilities of children and so much of the core of her method is all about the individual child.

  4. Ah, yes, yes, yes! This was so nice to read πŸ™‚ I love that you note the way Montessori helps eliminate some would-be parenting struggles and challenges. We definitely see that in our house, too. Things like getting dressed, getting shoes on to head out the door, grabbing snacks, etc, are entirely, or at least mostly my three-year-old’s territory. I’m always willing to help, of course, but seldom do I need to, since she has the tools, skills, and confidence necessary to handle those things all by herself.

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