About how I fell down the Montessori wagon and how I get back in!
9 years ago, I trained as a Montessori teacher. My first child was 16 months old and I was using Montessori with her since she was 6 months old. I went back to work on and off ever since. I had a second child in 2012, following a big move from Ireland (Quiet Dublin life, near the beach) to the busy London (overwhelming and wonderful at the same time).
In London, I started my own business (what I still do now in the English countryside). I had a second child and a very busy life. Slowly but surely, I was doing less of Montessori at home while teaching Montessori to parents through my playgroups and parenting workshops. Ironic? We say in French “c’est le cordonnier le plus mal chausse” or “the cobbler’s children go barefoot”.
In an attempt to get a better quality of life, we moved away from London. Me and my husband are both from the countryside and we couldn’t afford to buy a house in London anyway. We wanted to slow down and we wanted our children to enjoy an outdoor life.
So we bough our house in 2014 and I went back to work full time in a Montessori school! I managed to overwhelm myself very quickly again. I left my job in July for various reasons but the main one was that I had the opportunity to send my own son to a Montessori school that has an elementary program (while the one I managed was only a preschool). Distance wise, it was not possible for me to commute anymore while doing the school drop off.
So I was back to running my own business and finding at last the balance I wanted and going back fully to Montessori in my own home too!
I have always embraced the Montessori philosophy. I let my children explore, I let them express their own opinion, I follow their sensitive periods and provide what they need. We are reality based in everything we do. We don’t overwhelm them in their schedule, toys, routines… We have a Montessori inspired discipline with no rewards, no punishment, a lot of discussions about their emotions. However, sneakily, they were less and less independent because I never took the time to design our new house to their needs. Too busy with my job, I was doing for them instead of providing the tools for them to do it by themselves. Too busy with my job, I was hurrying them out of the house, to the childminder, to school in order for me not to be late. Not letting them being in charge of their shoes, their school bags… And the first job of a Montessori teacher is to prepare the environment in a way that it helps the children to be independent and is conductive to self-directing learning. Well I had forgotten my first job…
So for the last 4 months, since I left my job, I have started to come back to the basics and I encourage my children to be independent in everything they do. I encourage them again to help me when I cook, to pour their own drink, to tidy up after they’ve finished playing. I have sorted their toys to reduce what they have, I have reviewed some areas that weren’t promoting independence and to add to the difficulty, we have now a puppy so I had to review how to have things at the children’s level without having the puppy taking things.
It’s very much a work in progress and I want to be real with you and show you every month our progress, in order to inspire you to maybe do the same.
For me, being a Montessori parent is about the Montessori philosophy: respect for your child, observing your child, promoting independence in everything you do with your child.
It’s not about having the perfect house, it’s not even about the Montessori material at home. It’s not about being a Montessori trained teacher either.
So I have started a Montessori challenge; every month, I will share a video touring an area of my house, I will give you tips to design your house in a way that promotes independence and self-directed learning. It will be very simple tips and activities, nothing that you cannot achieve easily as a parent.
I hope I will inspire you to help your child to grow the Montessori way!
So join me every first Thursday of the month, 1pm on the fb page for a live video. The video will then be shared in a blog post with tips for you to get started. I hope you will share your progress and enjoy the process with me!