Coming back from the States after our vacation. I have been obsessively studying Montessori the past few weeks. Particularly since Mike got me the kindle paperwhite. Since getting it have read 3 books (well, 2 of them are more like pamphlets):
– Montessori School Guide For Parents : How to easily find and evaluate a Montessori School by Isabelle Etter
– A Montessori School Virtual Tour Photo Book, by Isabelle Etter
– Montessori: A Modern Approach by Paula Polk Lillard (mainly concerning the primary years, has really thorough segment on the role of the teacher that I haven’t read before)
After going through these, plus tons of online articles, and a consultancy session with Stephanie, I feel like I have had a burst of invigorating notions, one of which is:
- Zen-ly watching my son.
Learning to be able to sit back and see my child’s activities for what it is, not from the perspective of my goal-oriented adult mindset, has been incredibly relaxing for me. Montessori has stated that children are about processes, not the end result. This applies to most every activity they do. Twiddling with minute pieces of garbage? check. A short-lived interest in helping you ‘sweep up’ without actually getting the floor clean? check again.
- Expectations on household chores
When I first came to Montessori, I believed it would help me train a child who did housework alongside me. If only! I have since realized that it is a long road, particularly for young children (under 3s). You can try to establish some habits (“time to throw your diaper away” “Dump out potty” “This goes in the trash” “We put our plates in the sink after we’re done” “This is how you get your snack/water”) but for the child to consistently sweep up after every crumb? To give the child a list of chores? That comes with age. In the meantime, their interest is in developing the skills to do things. Once they’ve crossed something off their roster, they’ve moved on. And your job is to follow along, not sit in a dejected heap wondering where your wonderful boy who loved peeling the garlic for you has gone.
So what am I getting out of this? Knowing what to expect from my child, and appreciation of what he really does. The ability to sit back and watch his processes, including making his own mistakes and discoveries, without feeling that I’m failing him by not making sure he does thing exactly, has made my work as a parent so much more rewarding. That his nature propels him to grow and experiment is a blessing. And my job is to make sure that his environment gives him plenty of opportunities, while reminding him of the limitations and courtesy necessary to becoming a member of our household.
On the last note, I do love how, after the consultations and readings, the theories seem to become a part of me. It is easy to forget that somebody spent the time and resources discovering, training, making mistakes…etc before I came in contact with it. Having this knowledge makes me feel really wealthy, and I am so grateful for all the Montessori teachers and mothers out there who share their knowledge and training!