When asked what we do for a living, these are some of the common questions that we receive when we say “i work at a Montessori school”.
-“You work where? At a monastery? Are there monks there?”
-“What is Montessori?”
-“What grade do you teach?”
-“You do what?”
-“So, the kids just do whatever they want?”
When i first started working at Charlotte Montessori School, it took me a while to figure out the best way to explain that my toddlers were not running around like “wild things” but were in fact working. My family members were supportive of this new view of education I had found, but still could not get their heads wrapped around the idea. Until, I could show proof and give examples of my 2-year-old’s taking care of their own needs or choosing the work they would like to do in that moment.
A friend recently showed me a video on Facebook of a clip from a television show of an actor explaining the RIE method he had learned in California. For those of you who may not know, the RIE method is “Researchers for Infant Educarers”. This is a very similar philosophy to Montessori, but is infant based. The actor begins to talk about how he learned to not dismiss his daughter’s emotions, but to acknowledge them and explain what happened in the situation. Hearing the actor explain the new language he was using in the situation made me laugh, but then turned in to “the new way we parent”. The host commented that he “parents the old way” and that he was glad he did not live in California. The video left me wanting to defend the philosophy I now love and practice every day.
Here at Charlotte Montessori, we have parent club once a month. This is a time where parents can openly talk about any successes or problems they may be having at home. During our last session, a parent summed up Montessori in such a beautiful way. He said, after explaining the child’s meltdown over a cookie, “I now know that I can respect her as an equal and give her options”. It made me so proud of the father to hear that he now has this view!
My hope for the future is that the Montessori philosophy spreads and becomes something that people do not view as “crazy” or “my child will never do that” or something we can’t afford. Becoming a Montessorian is as easy as changing your mind set!