February 16, 2010

Here's a story, about a Montessori...

If you read the title correctly, you'll now have the Brady Bunch theme song running through your head all day.  You're welcome.

A few weeks ago, Claire started attending preschool at Jonathan Montessori School (JMS) in Chaska. She attends from 9am to Noon each day, and she's already made a lot of new friends... including Nick, a five year old boy she likes to say "Hi, Nick!" to every morning over and over again until he finally gives a heavy sigh of frustration and growls "Hiiiii!" back at her. Upon hearing the full story of young Nick (who also lives in our neighborhood), Claire's honorary Aunt Susan made it clear of her intent to keep an eye on the boy as he sounds like he has the potential of turning into a "player" - much like the many, many boys she knew while attending the cliquey Minnetonka High School back in the late '80s early '90s (not to imply our sweet Susan had anything to do with said boys, rather she claims to have watched them from afar with great disgust). Since Susan grew up in a community not too terribly far from here, we rely on her knowledge of the locale on many levels - ranging from cool places to shop to fine eateries (and pubs) to which high schools have the highest level of testosterone-fueled douchebaggery running rampant though their halls. Needless to say, Susan is a valuable and much cherished resource at our house.

For those unfamiliar with Montessori philosophy, I can tell you it promotes much the same views on child education as I do - just let the kid run wild and figure stuff out for herself. Well, actually, the Montessori experience strives to meet the needs of the child socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually.  The environment offers the opportunity for exploration and discovery, encouraging independence and self-motivated learning. Basically, instead of set scheduled times for reading, playtime, arts/crafts and other activities, Claire gets one-on-one time with her teacher part of the morning while having the ability to choose what activities she'll participate in the rest of the time with a teacher monitoring her but without any rigid schedule. In just a few weeks, we've seen Claire become more independent, confident and excited about going to school.

When we visited preschools to figure out which one Claire would attend, it was clear the students at JMS are on the payroll. As soon as the school's director took us downstairs to see Claire's potential classroom, the students actually came to the door with their teacher, an older girl took Claire by the hand and a group of kids gave her a tour of their classroom. The tour culminated with an introduction to Popcorn, the classroom's pet guinea pig. That's when I thought to myself, "Stick a fork in it!" Oh, not the guinea pig! That would be cruel and gross. No, I meant stick a fork in our preschool search. And as soon as we got in the car to go home Claire asked, "Is this my new school?"

What sealed it for me was my research on Montessori philosophy. Specifically, I found this quote from Dr. Maria Montessori: "The child who has never learned to work by himself, to set goals for his own acts, or to be a master of his own force of will, is recognizable in the adult who lets others guide him and feels a constant need for the approval of others." This hit home with me big time because I am the adult to which Dr. Montessori is referring. Want proof? Here's more: "He suffers from a sense of panic that goes by the name of timidity, a lack of self-assurance that in the adult takes the form of frustration and submissiveness and the inability to resist what is morally wrong." No comment on any morally questionable things I've done in the past or, for that matter, will do in the future. Let's just say there are many a few.

Every parent wants to give their child a better life than they had. For us, this includes helping Claire develop high self-esteem and confidence in herself that will (hopefully) lead to her making good decisions in the future. And we'll know we've failed if Claire starts dating young Nick when she's in high school. Stay tuned...


Dog Skin Problems 3:57 AM  

great blog! thanks for sharing

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About This Blog

Commentary from a stay-at-home dad on daily happenings and misadventures while helping raise a wonderful little girl. The goal is to employ wit, sarcasm and/or humor to make the blog pseudo-entertaining. Then again, setting goals never really worked for me, but maybe you'll chuckle anyway.

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