Sunday, September 09, 2007
our children's house
this week's quote from ms. montessori
we are a montessori house. i have been reading books by and about the montessori method since i was a teenager. it has always been my dream to become a montessori teacher but due to pragmatics, it won't be happening soon. when i say we are a montessori house, i don't mean that we have all the proper equipment or follow any guidelines precisely. what i mean is that the words of maria montessori are reflected in our intentions, if not always our actions. at home the difference is not noticable, it is only around others that i realize that we are bringing our boys up differently. our children are alert and observant, they are energetic but kind and very friendly. the montessori philosophy, though often coupled with christian schools, in fact corresponds to buddhism. we are not interested in academic achievement or test scores, we want our sons to be successful as humans. to be independent and confident, courteous, polite and gracious out of respect for others as well as themselves. we want to help them discover the world on their own terms, be their guides not their dictators.
nico putting the blocks away after building towers with them.
nico walking at a little under 9 months is rather alarming for other parents with 12 month olds who refuse to toddle. i reassure them that each child develops at their own pace but they never seem convinced. they look for ways to explain his progress, eventually settling on the explanation that having an older brother makes the difference. they ask me when he started pulling himself up or turning over, i tell them that nico and sebastian met those "milestones" at precisely the same age. then, to make themselves feel better i guess, they try to compare the size of our children. the funny looks i get when i tell them i have no idea about either of them because i have yet to find a pediatrician that i respect, that i understand sick-child visits but well-child visits confuse me.
sebastian chooses and pours his own drinks, putting the container back where he found it when he finishes. he also puts his cup in the sink and wipes down the table with a sponge if necessary.
i am not being sassy when i say these things. i get questions like, but how do you know they are healthy? how do you know they are doing okay?
having finished his lunch, sebastian stores the rest of his food away so as not to waste it.
my answer: i just look at them. take for instance when i needed some pictures to accompany this post's subject. all i did was take a picture of what they were doing at the moment.
i trust myself but mainly i just have an absolute faith in the human ability to grow and prosper and this includes my own children. i watch and help when needed though i do first make sure that it is their needs not my own.
a trust like this is easy when you spend time with children, when you observe instead of interfere with the somewhat bizarre expectations of mainstream society. it is similar to the faith children have in their parents and teachers, the belief that we are serving them with their best interests in our hearts and minds.