Our Montessori experience (and other thoughts on education)

Lately I’ve been engaged in a ton of conversations with other parents about Montessori education. People are curious about what it is, why it’s different, how it’s different, and how the Montessori experience affects our children. Even with dozens of charter schools popping up all over the country promising alternatives, and the prestige and reputations of private and independent schools, there are still so few options outside of traditional or conventional educational settings for so many children. As a parent and educator (who spends a ton of time in schools as a part of my job), I had some ideas about the type of education I wanted for my children. The type of education I didn’t often see in more traditional or conventional classroom settings. But I also had some expectations and commitments I wanted upheld by not only the school, but also by our family in partnership with the school. I wanted a school that saw our family as a whole and as partners in our children’s educations. This is where Montessori came in.

I don’t know that Montessori is right for every young person, but there are aspects of Montessori that I think work in various educational settings. I often think we don’t have enough conversations about education in our communities, what is working, what isn’t. I think those conversations are happening in limited ways among those invested in education (teachers, administrators, policy makers), but I’d also like to hear more parents talking about what we can do about the crisis in education in our nation.

Often as parents, we pick a school, or just send our kids to the school in the district we live in and that’s it. And while there may be limited choices on where a parent may be able to send their child, there is a lot that can happen inside and outside of school that can help supplement and strengthen a child’s overall educational experience. This is what I’ve learned from our experience with Montessori. The expectation is that families will be involved in the school community. But what else? What else can we learn and share?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I thought I would start sharing parts of our experience with our children’s education in hopes it will open up dialogue on the education of children in general. The stakes are very high.

For most parents, their child’s education is one of the most important decisions and investments they will make. And as the headlines about education in the U.S. are increasingly bleak, parents are often under immense pressure to find “the right” educational dynamic for their kids. It’s not easy, and sometimes it can be incredibly stressful. But like I discuss with so many other parents, education is the one thing you can affect and it begins and is reinforced at home. Home is where I believe the foundation for any education begins so no matter how “good” a school is or is perceived to be, a child’s education is only as good as what is happening at home. But that is only the beginning…

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Categories: Education

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