The Courage to Make Mistakes: Character Development in Montessori

Jan 27, 2015 4:30:00 PM / by White Bear Montessori School posted in character development


Our family just recently returned from a fabulous week in Mexico. We chose the Yucatan Peninsula over other sunny vacation spots because my husband and I LOVE to snorkel and scuba dive, and Cozumel has some of the best reefs we’ve found. Diving is one of the activities that has bonded us over the years, and we have both been excited about introducing it to our kids when the time was right.

Kids Can Do More Than You Think

As we were preparing for the trip, my husband asked if I thought the kids were old enough yet to learn to snorkel. My first thought was, “Are you kidding me? Of course they are.” Since our son is only six and our daughter is only three my husband had his doubts. I pointed out that we have friends who have introduced children that young to other sports like skiing and snowboarding and it was a great experience for everyone. So at dinner one night a few weeks before we left, we asked the kids if they would like to learn to swim and dive like mommy and daddy. Both of their faces lit up, and I mean LIT UP as their eyes got big and their heads started to nod in tandem. My son who has been counting down the years to get scuba certified about flipped his lid.

At first I was taken aback at their enthusiasm. I mean, there was absolutely no hesitation, absolutely no fear of trying this completely new thing. Talking about it is one thing, but actually putting your face in the water and trusting the snorkel as a breathing apparatus is another. Many adults are uncomfortable with snorkels. But as I thought about it, I realized that I shouldn’t be surprised. We have always encouraged our children to be brave, to try new things, to explore new opportunities. In short, we encourage our children to be courageous.

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The Benefits of Montessori – When Children Take Responsibility

Dec 8, 2014 4:00:00 PM / by White Bear Montessori School posted in Parent Education, character development


The most frequent questions I get asked from people outside of my Montessori circle are in some way related to why I chose Montessori when it has a reputation of being pretty loosey-goosey.  It surprises them when I start talking about the academic success my children have, but more importantly, they are more impressed with the character development beyond academics. I'm going to tell you a story about an experience one of my colleagues had recently that shows one of my favorite benefits of Montessori: children who take responsibility for themselves.

Last week I was talking to a colleague at another Montessori school that goes through middle school. She was sharing how her son had attended a Montessori school through sixth grade, then transitioned to his neighborhood middle school for seventh grade. Although there were aspects of the transition that were hard for her (most notably the realization that our public schools set a relatively low bar when it comes to our children’s learning), one of the things she’s realized is how responsible her son is compared to other kids his age. One example: she has never had to ask him if his homework is done. It always is. And it is because her son knows that it’s his responsibility to get it done.

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