Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Montessori?

I have gotten this question a lot lately when asked about Noah’s schooling. Why’d you pick it? How’d you know if it would be a good fit? Does he like it?

If you asked me two years ago, I wouldn’t have known what route we would take as far as preschool. When we moved to Dallas, I discovered quickly that schooling here is no joke. You have to research and visit years in advance- especially when it comes to elementary school. I KNOW CRAZY. A lot of primary private schools cost more than a public college. Once you decide on the "right" school, you better hurry up and apply because waiting lists are gruesome.  Also found out- some moms won’t share information for fear you will take their kids spot. The competition is real.  

All that being said- I was overwhelmed but strangely confident that it would work out. It always does.

Why’d you choose Montessori?

This is a God thing. I’m sure of it. I was at our local park one day talking to a lady about life as a boy mom. Her boy was in second grade at our local Catholic school and he was thriving. Out of nowhere, she said- “If anybody will listen, I tell them that by far the best thing we ever did was a local Montessori preschool.” her son had gone from age 3-6. This lady explained that once her son started first grade at the catholic school, with the skills set he had acquired in the Montessori system he was leagues ahead of his peers. I was intrigued…

She gave me the name of the school and I didn’t think much about it. Later on, I was talking with Matt and told him I felt a pull towards visiting this school. For a stranger to say something that boldly- I knew it must be amazing. (I have the same response if anybody will listen to a good pediatrician recommendation- I’m obsessed with ours-GIRL CRUSH OBSESSED). Needless to say, I visited the Montessori school and about five others (all different types). I couldn’t get past it. This Montessori school became my standard of comparison. I loved the director and atmosphere- I could see Noah in the classroom enjoying every opportunity it had to offer.

How’d you know it would work for Noah?

I have discovered education is about knowing your kid and knowing the school. You get as much as you put in. This school has four classrooms of eighteen kids. There are two teachers in each classroom and two playgrounds- you walk in the room and can’t believe all the cool "lessons" each kid is given on a daily basis. It is AMI certified which is a highly tedious process. Disclosure- I know nothing about AMI but have been told is a “big deal.” The school is 12 minutes from our house and easily accessible. I didn’t KNOW it would work for Noah, but each time we visited it- open house, meet the teacher, the playground dates, etc.- I could just see parents were like me. The kids were a lot like Noah- definitely lots of diversity- but all hungry to learn.  Education is a privilege and they all felt the same way.

What have you noticed from Noah since he started attending in September?

Within the first week, Noah was comparing the length of different objects. We’d be in the car- he’d hold up two objects and ask which one was longer.  I asked Matt if this was schooling or curiosity- he said curiosity. A week later the school hosted an event where we could go up to the school and do what the kids do. They split the parents up and we went from room to room- checking out each activity. Talk about cool- it was such a neat experience and opened up great conversations for us to have with Noah since we now knew more about what goes on in the classroom. Anyways, a lot of it was comparison and measuring- just like Noah had shown us the first week into it.  It sounds little but I don’t know if I would have initiated comparison at home and the value of that lesson has been awesome.

Noah’s imagination and ability to self-start projects has sky rocketed. He will sit and do tasks for hours now- not needing to be entertained- coming up with cool ideas all on his own. He is less interested in electronics (not that he doesn't like some good down time), BUT he doesn't ask near as much. He would rather be outside or creating some new adventure with his surroundings. 

His vocabulary continues to expand and the friendships he talks about are HEART MELTING. He wants to teach anybody who will listen. He has me sound out words and is always telling me what that word starts with. Learning is fun and exciting- he doesn’t ever view it as a chore which I love. He is even asking to go longer which we hope will happen here next Spring.

I have a lot more to say, but this is getting long. I’ll do another follow up soon. 

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