A Real Montessorian’s Response to Scary Mommy’s ‘So, You Sent Your Kid to a Montessori School?’
As a Montessori teacher, advocate and blogger, I often spend time reading the works of others, dabbling in books about Montessori philosophy or working with teachers at various Montessori schools. As I came across the article, “So, You Sent Your Kid to a Montessori School?” I couldn’t help but click to see what it was all about. I had no idea that I was in for a real “treat” (and I’m not talking about those cupcakes we Montessori teachers are accused of sending home either.)
If like me, you have a growing love for Montessori, you were probably feeling the same frustrations reading this. Well, I’ve done my research (as any good Montessorian would do) and here is what I have to say to “Scary Mommy.”
Dear Scary Mommy,
First of all, I am so happy to see someone bring up so many amazing things that Montessori children are able to experience on a daily basis! I would like to thank you for sharing a glimpse of the many things we Montessorians are actually doing right.
Each day, Montessori teachers work to observe your child in order to meet their needs both developmentally and academically. It is our hope that by sharing our “daily reports,” you too will be able to help meet the individual needs of your child at home. I can’t help but mention the positivity that is found in the daily reports as well, pointing out both developmental milestones and motivation that your child is on the right track. Your child’s teacher must surely understand the individual needs of your child. I’m having a hard time understanding why anyone would see that in a negative light.
It can be found on the Association Montessori International website that “according to A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement (a report from the National Committee for Citizens in Education), Henderson and Berla, “the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which that student’s family is able to:
-Create a home environment that encourages exploration and learning
-Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
-Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community.”
So, it seems as though you may also feel that our parent expectations are a bit overbearing. The reason we work so hard to incorporate parent volunteer opportunities and education nights is because we know how important it is to create and maintain a positive parent-teacher-partnership as it contributes to the educational success of your child. Sure, we may share with you some Montessori “lingo” or ways to help your child become more independent at home, but our main goal is to help you help your child down a path to independence. As Maria Montessori said, “Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.”
As we work to foster independence and spark the imagination of your child, we aren’t going to dangle a piece of candy in front of them to make it happen. Nor are we going to give them an award for good behavior or developmental milestones. There are no sticker charts or toy chests. I can tell you that what we will do is teach them natural and logical consequences to a behavior, thus allowing them to become self-disciplined. But, if you want to do everything for your child for the rest of their life, I’d say you are clearly on the right track.
So call us what you will… over-communicators with big vocabularies, hemp wearing health-nuts or, even “free-range” loving Montessorians. What we do each day with your child is so much more than you will ever find in a “daily report.” By being an informative, supportive, peaceful and wholesome role model for your child each and every day, we are helping them to understand that unfortunately there are people in this world who may have much different views.
Montessori may not be the right fit for you…But that doesn’t mean it’s not the best option for your child. While you ponder what may be, we will work to continue educating the future Larry Pages and Sergey Brins of the world. And, If you don’t recognize those names, feel free to Google them. 😉
An Educated Montessorian
P.S. I’m sorry to say that your satirical “daily reports” were clearly not a true depiction of Montessori education, and I couldn’t possibly allow others to come across your article without knowing the truth. Hopefully you’ve been enlightened as well.