A year ago we made the decision to place our child in a local Montessori school and it has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Our child has blossomed in this school and has adopted the Montessori method not only at school but also, at a more relaxed degree, in the home. I had heard of Maria Montessori many times within the speech therapy circles, but never truly knew the method as I do now that we live it. This is why I have completely fallen in love with Montessori.
Montessori Is An Inclusive Learning Method
What do I mean by inclusive? As a speech therapist who was always surrounded by special needs families, Montessori would usually come up as an alternative to mainstream education for children that have learning disabilities. I always tended to lump the two together. Often times, I hear the exact opposite from moms who don’t have a special needs child. Many moms tend to think Montessori is only for ‘gifted’ children. Little did I know that Montessori is a learning method for a wide spectrum of children with all different learning needs and abilities. This method is so diverse and individual that it can easily benefit children with learning disabilities, mainstream children or even those who are gifted. More importantly, a good Montessori school and instructor doesn’t label a child. Instead it meets the child’s learning needs at their individual level and builds on their specific skills while introducing new skills in a format that respects the child’s own interests.
It Respects The Child
“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”-Maria Montessori
As moms, I admit sometimes we tend to forget that our children are little people trying to grow into their own little person. I think I realized this when my child was in the car seat as a three year old who all the sudden wanted to be included in adult conversation. Soon he wanted to do his own car seat buckle, choose his own outfits, and choose his own day activities. What happened to the sweet baby in the car seat who would simply babble, smile, munch, sleep and repeat? When did he start having so many opinions?! Very quickly I had to learn to pick my mom battles wisely and allow the child some space to find little doses of independence throughout his day. Montessori knows fully the importance of independence in a child’s life and they respect that about them.
It Teaches The Whole Child
I’m that kinda mom who day dreams about home schooling her children surrounded by chickens, goats and a vegetable garden, but quickly realizes that A) I run a speech therapy business, B) I really like my adult time and C) I have no idea how to home school or if I have the patience for it. Sigh. So when we felt that our son was ready for more learning above and beyond what staying at home with mama provided, we had a very different idea of what that education should include. We searched for an education that nurtured the whole child, not just math and reading. Through Montessori my child has learned social skills, life skills, academic skills and yes even some spiritual skills. Usually at any Montessori you will see a dish washing station, a broom and mop. One of the most memorable moments for me was this last December where parents were invited to have ‘holiday tea’ with our child. My heart skipped a beat when my child set the tea table for two, sat across from me and so politely asked, “Do you care for some tea mama?!” Then he proceeded to pour me a cup of tea with milk and sugar. As a speechy I was blown away when I witnessed the instructors teaching letter sounds one-on-one not much differently than I have done many times during speech therapy sessions myself! My son is also being taught cursive letters before type and his math has improved tremendously. Every week he practices a different virtue and we try to find opportunities at home for him to practice his virtues. For a mom that wanted to home school, I think this was definitely the next best thing.