Sunday, September 23, 2012

Montessori: A Way of Being

While contemplating the many discussions and debates that go around in various circles of Montessori vs. traditional, non-traditional, homeschooling, non-schooling, Waldorf, etc, etc.  I find myself torn into not wanting to place labels either.  The PC way of dealing with things is to combine all that is effervescent and whole, things that please and provide.  Sometimes, a shortcut to something that is not.  I love the idea of non-schooling with Montessori, of Waldorf(ing) something, or homeschooling the masses.  The ideas and ideals are limitless and potential.  The sky is truly the limit, until you hit the city, the county, the sate, and the red tape.

I think while our children our young, we too are young and hopeful.  We yearn to live through them, to re-learn with the passion of youth from the experience of our yesteryears.  We  hope to give them something we were missing.  We  reach out to others to help fill our heads and hearts with hopes and dreams of the possibilities.  Looking to experts, professionals, and scientific data we are constantly figuring out how to help our children to be better human beings, better cognitive learners, better communicators, to adapt, to thrive, to socialize, to identify.... to become stronger, faster, calculators, orators, play-writes, artists, coders, decoders, engineers, you name it, but we won't.  We disguise it in the pretense that we want what's best for them to be.  So, why don't we just let them be.  Why do we push, why do we fight-internally and externally.

I'm not sure you're going to get a point or an answer from me at midnight.  But, I don't think you should expect that answer from me either.  It must be an answer we choose for ourselves, or better yet, and answer we let our children choose for themselves.

I LOVE Montessori, but I admit, it could use a huge dose of creativity.  BUT, the beauty lies in the adult who brings that creativity to the child.  Once we give the child beauty and surround them with all that is beautiful, we can allow the child to flourish in an environment in which he learns to be creative. 

There are whispers and rumors that Montessori is a "secret" or "cult-ish".  To this, I can only say that to me, Montessori is not a "method," or a "philosophy".  As a teacher we study it, but to study it is to understand it and to ultimately embody it.  So, Montessori is a way of being.  It is a shift in viewing the world.  And by this, it does not mean to view the world through the eyes of the child from our perspective, but to truly become that child and to "see" the world though his/her eyes.  Each child/human being brings with him a unique story.  Mostly time and place.  We are born into a particular time in history and place on this planet.  In many ways, this starts us into who we are and who we become. 

So, why can't we expand and bring Montessori to the heights of traditional education?  It's happening, but I worry that we are loosing the most fundamental aspect of her teachings.  I worry that we are mass producing the "ideals" of Montessori to the fast-pace, apps for the mobile, bullet point, marketing and selling, business as usual, or just "business" mentality.  It is not a business.  I refute this model or strategy.  We are not in the business of selling a "product" because to me, the "product" is the child.  Instead, we are witnesses to the formation of life.  The life of a child, of a human being is a mystery worth being a part of.  We are unable to witness our own growth and development; therefore the next opportunity is that of our own children or for those even more fortunate, their grandchildren.  It is something worth stopping to smell the sweet sweet smell of these roses!

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