This week is Montessori Education Week, and so I thought I would take the opportunity to write about a few of my favorite things about Montessori!
Children in Montessori often learn to read at a very early age (although I will admit there was a point in time when I wondered if my son would EVER learn to read, but he did exactly when his teacher predicted he would.) They learn their numbers – not just counting but understanding that seven is one more than six and not just because it follows six. They begin to add and subtract, even multiply and divide, as early as kindergarten. They learn about leaves and leaf shapes. They learn about zoology, geometry and time. There seems to be almost no end of the surprises of what our children learn. It is ironic, however, that one of the most important lessons they learn in Montessori does not appear on a progress report. And yet once it’s learned, it’s a lesson that will make your child stand out for the rest of his or her life. The lesson: grace and courtesy.
“I want to do it myself!” I cannot even count how many times I hear this every day from my increasingly independent three-year-old daughter. Most of the time I marvel at the tasks she wants to undertake: getting dressed, pouring her cereal, packing her lunch, getting on her coat and shoes, feeding the dogs, etc. And most of the time I’m very good at providing opportunities – and time – for her to tackle these tasks, making both her and me feel good about our abilities.