Monday, January 26, 2015

Why Montessori?

I wanted to talk a bit about why we decided on a Montessori education for Sammy. There were several reasons and I thought it would be a great discussion.

First being current state of public schools. We live in an amazing school district. Top scores all around. The only problem is that those top scores come from testing the heck out of students so that they pass all of these things that "experts" say need to happen at a certain grade level. I feel strongly that kids should be at school and learning to love to learn rather than learn to pass a test. I object to the down time when testing isn't immediately on the horizon and I object towards teaching our children that the benefits of learning come from good test scores rather an progressing onto more complex topics and better understanding of our world.

Second diversity of children. We're AP loving, pretty crunchy for the most part, fussy parents. My husband is an Engineer and I have a background in Advertising and English. We're both pretty into reading and learning. We both research the heck out of everything. We're usually the oddball parents and we want Sammy to grow up being the norm. Montessori offers that to us with a respect of each other and the environment.

Third - we just love the method and what it offers to Sammy. We love the pace of his learning in three hour cycles. He gets to work on what he'd like to work on. They respect his ability to learn and let him direct himself. I agree that Sammy learns through his own ability to grow and not through anything we impart to him. He is the one with the power and I respect their method towards giving him the tools he needs to get there.

When we have done parent/teacher conferences in the past with Sammy's traditional daycare teacher she has always mentioned that Sammy doesn't do great with circle time. He doesn't want to learn in a group setting. I frankly feel like public kindergarten is a leveling out class. It is a time where my son's abilities are stalled because he's above the other children in terms of exposure to education who have not been to any kind of school (including homeschool). I feel that every moment is precious in terms of understanding and public school has no choice but to teach to the middle and also move at a pace that works for the average student. What if my kid needs a slower pace? What if they need a faster pace? What if I don't want my kid to be lectured to for an hour when he's still so young and can't sit still? I feel like Montessori addresses my concerns there.

Lastly which I just touched on is that I want my kid to move. We have an obesity epidemic here and children are not given the opportunities in the day to move their bodies. They need things like yoga, slides, running around, swingsets, and giggling. Freedom is what teaches these children and I don't want him sitting down all day at a desk trying to stay awake. I also feel that he should be able to move from one subject to another at his discretion. I don't want him to feel like he's a certain type of student based on a grade and test score.

We're really happy with our choice- he is totally flourishing there and even though drop offs can be tough- he really likes it. I know it's a great place for his second home. Our biggest hurdle will be when he turns 10 and we need to move him to traditional school. I am praying a Montessori Middle School and High School open up in this area.

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