So, I just finished reading Dr. Maria Montessori's classic work, "The Montessori Method," which is the foundation upon which Montessori teaching and learning stands. With each turn of a page, I became more and more in love with the Montessori Method! Dr. Montessori's method gives birth to active learning as opposed to passive learning. As an educator, I always made it my goal to have the children doing more work than me. Not that I am a lazy teacher, quite the contrary! However, I knew that one of the signs that real learning was taking place was whenever the students were actively involved in the learning process.
I will break down each component of this exemplary work in the days, weeks and months to come. At this point in my Montessori journey, I wish to focus on the following quote from The Montessori Method...
Are our children "actively disciplined" or "artificially silent?" WOW! This quote really stirred up something deep in my spirit. While the language comes across a bit harsh due to the era in which it was written, Dr. Montessori really touched on something powerful and profound!
I'm going to be totally transparent with you and say that I am one of those children that was brought up by the "spare the rod spoil the child" way of rearing your children, and trust me, that rod was NEVER spared! I have the utmost respect for my mom and grandmother, the two women largely responsible for raising my brother and myself once my parents divorced. However, it didn't take me long to come to the realization that I wish to raise my children differently.
Don't get me wrong, I implement a lot of what my mom and grandmother did to raise me within my own parenting style. But my parenting style is naturally going to be different for several reasons. First, I am my own person. My personality, while sharing some of my mother and grandmother's traits, is very different from the ladies who raise me. Also, I am raising my children in a different era. So much has change since I was young. I am 34 years old and have probably witnessed the most radical and fastest change/growth in technology than any other generation. That alone, lends itself to a generation filled with new experiences and challenges.
As I read this quote from Dr. Montessori, I can't help but to contemplate whether or not I was artificially silent for most of my life. How many of you heard, "Because I said so" whenever you asked an adult a question growing up? I am not judging or being critical of the way our parents and grandparents raised us. I am forever grateful that I was brought up in a strong, loving home that instilled so many values within me that I now pass own to my children. And let's face it; our parents and grandparents did the best they could with what they had. They raised us the way they were taught, and who can blame them? Today, we parents have countless resources to help us along this journey of parenting. We also have our past experiences as a daughter or son to help guide us in how we choose or not choose to raise our own children. Access to Dr. Montessori's work can be one of those resources all these many years later.
What I am quickly discovering along my Montessori journey is that uncovering the Montessori method is not just transforming me as an educator. More importantly, it's transforming me as a parent. I can't wait to see where this journey takes me and my children....