Many parents who enroll their children in our school did not attend Montessori themselves and initially find it difficult to understand what exactly is going on in the classroom. It also took me a while to get my head around what made Montessori so special.
But as I sat and observed the children during their three hour uninterrupted morning work period, I saw their focus and concentration as they engaged in work that interested them, and I watched them interact with their classmates respectfully and manage themselves well. I began to understand that Montessori is not just about developing children academically but is totally invested in seeing every aspect of the child flourish – socially, emotionally, spiritually and academically.
A traditional pre-school tends to be more focused on preparing children for transition into Kindergarten which generally involves learning basic academic skills with more sitting still and listening to the teacher and less interaction with other children. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this but we believe children deserve more.
In fact over the last few years I have begun to wonder about how well the standard educational system is serving our children. Students are required to learn the same things in the same way and in the process of having to pass tests and do increasing amounts of homework they tend to lose their natural curiosity and love of learning they were born with. As they approach 17 years of age we ask them what they would like to do with their life not realizing the individuality and creativity that was so evident in them as a 5 year old has now been squashed by years of having to conform to a particular system and many aren’t sure anymore what they really love.
I know from personal experience that sending our three children through Montessori till 6th Grade has been enormously positive and life changing. Seeing their unique interests encouraged and built upon by both staff and peers is beautiful. Not to mention their constant creativity which amazes me. I want my children to grow into confident adults who make the world a better place by being fully themselves and pursuing with passion and focus the things they love and deem important.