My son begins kindergarten in the fall.
We talk enthusiastically about it often — what his classroom will be like, what he will learn, who he will meet. He is excited and impatient about all of these things, and I am excited for him! What a sweet boy, he has no idea how much he has already given to this world, and he has only just begun.
Even a year ago, I envisioned this time in our family’s life as a joyous, momentous occasion. And it will be, indeed, but recently, as we began discussions of enrollment and what time the bus will pick him up in the morning, I began to feel uncertain. I began to feel afraid, reluctant, less in control — that little lump in my throat a constant reminder that my son is no longer in my arms.
This is why we need Montessori.
As a parent, it is so easy to romanticize the relationship we have with our children. We want to give them everything, show them everything, teach them everything and do it our way all the time. We want to be there for them — in the good and the bad — and fix as much as we can, because we can. We want to make their lives easy and enjoyable, and then feel pleased that we made it that way for them. We want to protect them. But what we don’t realize in those efforts is that we minimize the experiences they deserve. We minimize their effort, and we take away from them the unbridled curiosity they organically have for every single thing in this world. To serve our children is to stifle them, and my soon-to-be kindergartener deserves more than that.
I might be anxious about what sending my first born off to school feels like and looks like for me, but this isn’t about me, and Montessori has taught me to trust my son. I believe in him to ask questions, to stand up for himself, to make good decisions and to be kind. I trust that he will begin to see what makes him special among his peers, and I trust that he will fill up his little body with bravery, enough for the both of us, and that he will tell me at the end of each day what he did with that. I trust him to thrive, and he will.
To understand Montessori begins with an examination of how strongly we believe in our children. We love them with all our might, and we are right here for them as they take that first step onto the big yellow school bus, but do we have faith that their own will and independence can take it from there? Children are capable of more than we could possibly comprehend, and beginning to get to the bottom of that — to simply watch for yourself what they can do — that is how we begin Montessori in the home.
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a writer and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories, learning opportunities and Montessori inspiration in Guidepost Parent.
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