This time of year many parents are beginning (or in the middle) of discussions on the educational future of their children. Maybe it is selecting a school for a kindergartner, maybe it is debating whether or not to put your three year old in a Montessori school, maybe it is deciding to switch schools for a better option, maybe it is going over finances to see if you could swing a private school…
If one of your discussions included a Montessori education then I have the post for you! It often seems that one parent gets onboard with a Montessori education, but one parent (or grandparent) is reluctant or downright opposed. On many message boards and parent education sessions I heard from parents that their partner wasn’t as “into it” as them. I will say that my husband has always been 100% onboard with sending our kids to a Montessori school, mostly because we sort of fell into it and both discovered it at the same time. I hope this post is a jumping off point to many future discussions between partners and within a greater educational context.
The first step in this process is to have a discussion with your partner about educational goals and outcomes for your child(ren). This is not the time to bring up Montessori. This is the time to share hopes and dreams for your child. It is a way for couples to find common ground and clarify who they hope their child will become. This is best reserved for a time you are both in a happy and content mood with alone adult time. Perhaps on a date to a coffee shop or other quiet place. Maybe it is just on the couch after the children have gone to bed. Questions may included: Is college a requirement? Are sports or particular extracurriculars a requirement? At graduation what skills do you hope our child has gained? Is prestige or name of school important? Can we afford a private school? Have we explored all of the public school options in our area? Are we open to homeschooling?
Once you have discussed goals and found common themes, you can bring up Montessori.
A good place to start is with basic background information on Montessori. Since Montessori is often lumped into progressive or innovative buckets people assume it must be new. That it must be untested. That their child might be an educational guinea pig! If this is the case, share these facts first: Dr. Montessori opened her first “Children’s House” for children ages 1-6 in 1907, putting her years of research and observation into practice. An educational curriculum that is 108 years old and practiced throughout the world is well-tested and nothing new!
Other resources that may help lay the groundwork are:
- Start here at mariamontessori.com’s introduction page. It is intriguing and makes you want to learn more.
- Then pop over to the site’s FAQs for answers to more common concerns.
Still not convinced it is right for your child? Try the scientific approach. Dr. Montessori was a physician (the first female one in Italy!) and a scientist. All of her theories and practices were carefully crafted from observation and based on childhood development. Today because of brain scan technology we know that her theories over 100 years ago about how a child’s brain develops were spot on!
Dr. Steve Hughes is a pediatric neuropsychologist and president of the American Academy of Pediatirc Neuropsychology.
You can watch him discuss Montessori here:
Last but not least are two videos that show a Montessori school in action.
A Montessori Morning: A glimpse of a Montessori 3-6 year old classroom. This one gives me the warm fuzzies, big time!
Inside Melbourne Montessori School: A wonderful introduction and overview of a school as a whole.
Who could be reluctant knowing all this! If you are held back by not being able to afford a Montessori education, consider fighting for a public Montessori option in your area. My children are able to attend a wonderful public Montessori school (PreK3-8th grade) because Montessori educators and parents rallied around the need and worked hard to make it a reality. I am helping pay it forward by working on a committee to bring a public Montessori High School to my area through Friends of Montessori.
What are the reasons you choose to send your child to a Montessori school or not?