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.
A group of fellow WBMS parents and I were recently talking about our early experiences with WBMS and Montessori in general. Several of us admitted to each other that the first few months of our child’s time at WMBS was a bit rough, not with our child, but with our spouse, who originally had not been as committed as we were to the Montessori approach. I don't know about you, but my husband questioned whether Montessori was worth the money we spent on tuition for the most of our son's first year in Children's House.
Recently we took a trip to Florida to go to a wedding where I saw people ranging from my sisters to my Father’s distant cousin. What a trip! Although I had met all these people before, some I hadn’t seen in years. As I sat in the kitchen to catch up with my relatives, we ended up talking about Montessori. A cousin told me that a neighbor was considering Montessori but changed her mind because when she visited the school she was very surprised to see a classroom with no desks and children walking about the classroom, engaged in half a dozen different activities.
“I have never seen a classroom where children could just do anything they want,” she told me. “I could only imagine what a challenge it must be for the teacher to maintain order or get anything done,” commented my sister. Clearly she felt the same way. I will share Montessori’s view on discipline with you in the same way that I shared it with her that day.