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Motherhood Mondays: Montessori

May 14, 2012

This past week I received an unexpected voice mail telling us that their was an open space in our local Montessori school for little man. It was unexpected 1) because I’d forgotten we’d even put ourselves on the wait list to begin with and 2) because we’ve been so happy with our current preschool the thought of transitioning to another was far out of our minds. But, I had to put it right in my mind, because we were offered a position and had to make the decision within the week. Yikes!

And, honestly, I didn’t know what to do. Immediately I thought, “Yes! Of course!” and started trying to figure out ways we could afford it, how we would make the transition from 2 day a week preschool to every day, and thinking about all of the wonderful activities my little man would be able to do in his new school. And then, I remembered rather quickly; we Love his current school. We Love his teacher, HE Loves his teacher, we Love the closeness, the schedule, the community, the student:teacher ratio and the play. So, I started second guessing myself.

Why ‘fix’ something that isn’t broken, we asked ourselves?

Why pull him out of something he’s clearly so happy in, to transition him into something he may or may not ‘fit’ into?

Well, the answers are quite easy if you’re a Montessori convert (which I truly am when it comes to grade school), but when it comes to my little man and the one on one attention he’s able to receive at his current preschool, I just couldn’t do it.

That in and of itself (along with a little quirky comment) is why last Tuesday morning after visiting the school and being able to observe the classroom with all its amazing wooden educational toys, the tool bench, the kitchen, the math toys, the maps, etc etc, I decided we’d stay where we are for now. Yes, I would like to be a Montessori parent someday, and I would like for Griffin to take part in the Montessori preschool, but he turns 3 at the very end of July; he’ll be THE youngest person in his class. I think it’s ok to wait. I think he needs the attention that a 11:1 teacher:student ratio couldn’t possibly give him. (I know that “I” is at the beginning of those sentences and I realize they are likely all ME, and not him, but that’s ok, I am allowed to make these decisions.)

I also felt a little unease with a comment/comparison/rationale that I’m sure I just misheard or misunderstood and maybe someone out there can help me better understand it . . . otherwise I might believe a wee bit of the banter out there about Montessori : they said it’s important to start M. early on, as soon as possible, because otherwise, these little toddler quirks (say, inattention, selfishness, jealousy, etc) that are just little quirks right now, could become permanent and stain your child’s personality forever (unless they come to Montessori).

It kind of felt like a scare tactic. But, I hope I misunderstood. We’re back on the wait list again, until I feel like the babe is ready to be in a larger classroom with many more bigger kids, which will be next year. Maybe I made the wrong decision, maybe I made the right one, all I know is that at the end of the day my little man really enjoys going to preschool and I want that to always be the case

Do your kids go to Montessori? What are your experiences? Do you swear by the Montessori philosophy? What’s so bad about quirks? And do you value a small student:teacher ratio as much as I do?

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