Picture an environment where differences are celebrated, questions encouraged, and hands are busy discovering the world around them. Whether 3 years or 63, those who know the joy of learning in a Montessori classroom experience an education that is deeply personal and individualized. Have you experienced the “Montessori Method?”
A Desire to Learn
When I had my very first experience with Montessori, I had no idea that was even what I was experiencing. In grade school, several of my classmates left our school to attend what I thought of as “smart school.” Outside of the school walls, they were so interested in learning and experimenting and understanding. I assumed they were incredibly gifted. That was the only reason my young mind could understand these peers that wanted to learn outside of the school day.
I excelled in school, too, but I didn’t possess the same desire they seemed to. I was good at memorizing and doing what I was told. These children always seemed to be thinking outside of the box, thinking critically, and I knew their school was different from mine. When they rejoined our public middle school in the sixth grade, they were all in advanced classes, and we still seemed separate. They remained in advanced classes throughout our school careers, and remained incredibly intelligent and focused.
It wasn’t until college that I was reunited with Montessori. This time, watching a winter performance of some children my friend nannied for, I LOVED that the performance was not just about Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Santa, and other iconic holiday traditions with a song or two about the menorah or Kwanzaa thrown in there for good measure. Instead, they were songs about love, friendship and peace…true universal celebrations.
When it came time to look for a preschool for my children, I immediately went to the place that had provided me with such a different perspective on winter celebrations. I, however, really only knew about the peace and respect that I witnessed in the classrooms I observed, and that each child was allowed, even encouraged, to work at their own pace.
The more I witnessed what my children were experiencing within the Montessori classroom, the more I loved it. However, it wasn’t until I was eventually employed at the school that I started to see the bigger picture, and it wasn’t until I started online Early Childhood Teacher Training course at Age of Montessori, that I began to see how big that picture truly was. And, still today, over ten year later, I feel like I am definitely still learning the scope of Montessori.
It took becoming involved with a Montessori Parents group to understand that my friends in grade school went to Montessori classrooms, not gifted programs. Daily I continue to be amazed at all Montessori encompasses. The peace, friendship, love and respect that I saw in that winter performance years ago still resonates deeply within me today. The things that Montessori teaches, and the way that it is done is what I wanted for my children and their world since before they were born, but I had never been able to put it into words and ways of learning. I am so grateful that Montessori has done that for me. I am being transformed all the time by Montessori; she gave me definitions for the way I have wanted to live my life and teach my children. Now, I continue, moment by moment, to learn and love and respect our world and its creatures, and I am incredibly grateful to be a part of it all.
What about you? What is your story? Would you like to keep learning?
Resources to Learn More:
Age of Montessori’s Teacher Training Certification program for Early Childhood (ages 3-6) Winter classes start February 19, 2020 and late registration is open through March!
Age of Montessori’s Teacher Training Certification program for Elementary (ages 6-12) Winter classes start March 4, 2020!