My husband and I decided a while ago that we were strongly going to consider putting Lucas in a Montessori School. Whenever that time came, be it when he was 20 months or 3 years old, Montessori style teaching and learning, and the environment it has is something we see fit for our children and our family.
Of course, we are still fairly new to the idea of Montessori method as we have never had a child specifically use it before. However, form what I’ve read, seen and heard, it sounds like a perfect method and aligns with many of the things that we believe in.
We toured a few Montessori Schools in our town and found one that we loved. I wish I could have taken a picture- the classrooms are so neat and beautiful. They are calm and inviting. The toddler room has several plants in it, a couple tanks with different animals, numerous stations, small tables and chairs, a small toilet and sink, and even a place where children wash their dishes after snack. A large play area out front with balls and slides and a place to run around. And get this- they go outside until it reaches 5 degrees! And in Oregon they cancel schools if it’s snows .5 inches….
(I’m not kidding about either of those things. You have to dress properly with good clothing and you’re fine- the cold won’t hurt you, even if you’re a toddler. And yes, Oregon is known to cancel schools if it snows a small fraction because they are scared to drive in it. Alaska also cancels recess if it rains… but will let children play in 5 degree weather. Not.Kidding.)
While getting a tour of a potential Montessori School, the director gave us a great example of what the Montessori method is like. Twice a week a women comes in to speak spanish to the kids. The children (of any age) are not required to come and sit with her on the rug. They are not forcing spanish. If a child is, for example, in the middle of creating a tower with blocks, it is best for the child to continue doing that. The Montessori method does not disrupt that, if a child is invested in something he or she is doing. Chances are, the child will come and sit on the rug and listen to spanish when he wants to and needs to, thus when he is ready and wanting to learn. And the director said that most, if not all children DO come to the rug and listen to spanish because it looks interesting and inviting and they are not forced to do it.
One of the goals of Montessori is to foster the love of learning. There is no strict curriculum. Generally children are not assigned specific task with specific groups. For example, in a traditional school at 11:00am math time might begin with group B. In Montessori, children are able to choose which activity they play/work with and if they work alone or with a group. Children are free to work at their own pace rather than stop an activity and move to a next because it’s “math time.” Children are encouraged to discover and lean on their own.
I certainly don’t think traditional schools are bad at all. They are just different, both with pros and cons I’m sure. And, I know at some point our children will be in a traditional school, and we are absolutely totally fine with that. Traditional schools are great too! Just different.
For now, I think Montessori is the way we’re headed. Lucas is still very young, so “school” isn’t needed at this point. Day care isn’t needed either as I have no plans of working full time once our 2nd is born this Fall. However, there are still several reasons why we’ve considered (and most likely will) put Lucas in a Montessori School this winter.
He will be almost two years old when he starts, and we will most likely do two days a week- each half a day, 3 hours in length. We are currently on the waiting list, but I imagine that we will have no problem getting him enrolled since we’re not looking to start for quite a while.
Benefits we see:
- Interaction and play with other children is important. Lucas (and any child) needs to be around other children his age…. sometimes without Mama. He needs to have social opportunities and room to grow.
- A place to have FUN!
- A place to LEARN!
- Baby and mama alone time while Lucas is at school.
I think it will be a great thing, and if not, we will take Lucas out no problem. It’s a good idea to test it out though and see if it’s something we like and something that will work well for our family. Who knows what will happen!
Do you have any experience with Montessori Schools? What do you like- or not like- about them?