Friday, March 20, 2009

Montessori Learning

Lallie started Montessori school in January at eighteen months old and she has absolutely thrived. Her dexterity and language skills have improved, she is putting together puzzles and nesting blocks, sorting shapes and colors, and is now drinking from a cup, eating with a fork and spoon and has become a big girl right before our eyes. And these are only a few of the new skills she has learned.

We have also learned a few things about parenting and about
Lallie's personality. She is a mathematical thinker (oh, help me...for those of you who know me well, my dad and my husband are engineers and it looks like I have another following in their lead!) She doesn't play with dolls, her activity table is a game of the past, chasing balls around the house only occupies her for so long, and she doesn't really enjoy riding a tricycle or playing with her kitchen. Not that these aren't enjoyable activities, they are just worn out games and she prefers to be challenged with new and exciting things. For example, the other day, she was trying to put together the reverse-osmosis system that is currently sitting on our porch due to our kitchen remodel! She loves Legos, nesting blocks, puzzles etc. Her little mind, just like any toddler's, is working and thinking at a million miles a minute. We are parents, as teachers, need to cater to that quickly moving mind.

Since we're not teachers by trade, it's been difficult for us to understand what
Lallie needs. We don't have the formal teaching education and I'm sad to say that I haven't read any parenting books (ah, the plight of a full-time working parent). At school, Lallie gets a full day of stimulation, both with other children and constant adult interaction. This is great! Exactly what Husband and I hoped for and want (and are paying). However, when she gets home and on the weekends, Lallie can be very irritable and needy. I now realize that she wants the boundaries and activities, she wants to be focused, she wants to learn and explore. She's not in my way when I'm cleaning house, she's just interested in what I'm doing, soaking it up, learning all that she can absorb into her ever growing mind!

These are all things I've learned from the Montessori teachers. I have also been told that I shouldn't be so hard on myself for just now recognizing it. In fact, Ms. Kelley said most parents (aside from teachers!) don’t realize this with their first child until well into it, it is normal it’s a learning process like anything else. I am not the first parent to ask the question, “what are we doing wrong at home?” And the answer is, “nothing.” We're not teachers by definition of our job titles, we're engineers and commercial real estate managers, and we know NOTHING about children. We've also learned that our child isn't suffering because of our lack of teaching education, she's actually learning from us and she loves us, the most important part. I've always known we are teachers, not just parents, but for the first time, I'm actually realizing the implications of being a “parent-teacher”.

  Husband and I have decided to put away the toys that
Lallie currently views as pointless. (Seriously, she picks up a doll and looks at it with the expression "what am I supposed to do with this?" and then throws it to the side - not that she won't enjoy playing dress up with them later in life). We are setting up her room and our living room with boundaried alone and parent-interactive activities based on the Montessori school method. She enjoys it, that’s what she likes and people always say that kids need boundaries. That's what we're giving her. And, when mommy and daddy need that second on the weekend to run to the restroom or the laundry room without a crying fit, maybe these activities will help her stay focused and happy. In addition, she can actually help us, after all she will be sweeping the floor, helping with dinner and washing the windows!

I am so looking forward to our activity of cookie decorating and then park playing with
Lallie tomorrow. It's going to be fun and rewarding for us all, exactly what I want for Stuart and I as parents, and what we pray, for Lallie as a child.

Pray for us, we'll let you know how it goes!

1 comment:

  1. Your honesty with your parenting is so refreshing. Seriously, I enjoyed reading that you're learning as you go. I think many parents get disappointed when they don't know or understand what they're supposed to do.

    Great post!