What I have learned from Maria Montessori
Debating on what’s the best school choice for the kids? Not long ago I went to a conference at my children’s school. As I have talked about in one of my recent blogs, the philosophy I chose to raise my kids with is Maria Montessori’s theory. Therefore, the school I picked for them follows this thinking. Here are key points I have learned from this methodology (and some of the reasons I’m really happy I have Ferrán and León in the school they’re in).
In the first years of life (from birth to 6-ish years old) kids build their character
and being, and what they experience at home, school and the society where they live in will help them shape who they are (and will be). It all matters: what they sense through eyes, mouth, ears, hands and smells affects their life. We need to ask to ourselves. How are we, as a family, behaving at home? Are the
people/community they are surrounded with nourishing their developing process? Are we helping our kids exploit all their creative potentiality?
“We need to help the child to maximize his intended nature towards independence”. Sounds good, huh? It was one of the lines at the school´s presentation, and the bottom message is that we can’t, by any means, deny kids their independence. From the moment they are born, kids are exploring the world and developing their potential. But, sometimes we (parents/caregivers) become barriers that can hinder their efforts to develop themselves as individuals. In our efforts to DO/SAY/GIVE everything to them, we are teaching them to be dependent, fearful and even defeatist. Montessori’s theory gives the child the opportunity to pursue his own interest and curiosities, at his own pace; instead of being restricted to do, think and talk only when they are allowed to.
No. Freedom in Maria Montessori’s idea doesn’t mean letting a kid do whatever he likes, whenever he wants - when he still doesn’t have the “power of control” over what he is doing. It means that the kid will be able to act freely when he/she learns how to behave in society, accepting the fact that there are responsibilities and collective interest that should be pursued. Little by little, kids will gain their freedom at the same pace they embrace responsibility, until they get to the perfect balance where they can “be” for themselves without compromising their given duties.
Where are we heading? Self-discipline. As I have learnt from Montessori’s method, offering the kid the opportunity to build their personality, be independent, and have some freedom helps them develop skills such as making choices, thinking and reasoning, be responsible, and assume the consequences of their actions. So my final thought is to Montessori.