My baby will be starting school in the fall. Today I sent off the check to hold her place in the local Montessori school. I've posted before about our interest in Montessori, and my love for the method has only grown since I first stumbled across it.
This spring I taught a Junior Achievement class to the fourth graders at this school. I was in awe of the dreams and ambitions, passion for learning and exceptional communication skills of this group of kids. Now maybe I just don't spend enough time with this age group, but they were truly fascinating to watch and interact with.
One moment that particularly stands out to me was when I had divided the room into two groups to complete a worksheet. One group was social and quickly finished their work by working together. The other seemed to take more of a fend-for-yourself method to doing the work. I noticed one girl was struggling and looked very frustrated that her group members weren't helping her understand how to do the assignment, and just as I stood to see if I could help, a boy from the other team came over and asked if she needed help. He proceeded to walk her through the steps and explain how his group came to the conclusion that they did. I felt teary.
Near the end of my class, I toured the school with the director, and as I suspected it's fabulous. Four rooms make up the school: 2- to 3-year-olds, 3- to 6-year-olds, first through third grade and fourth through sixth. Each classroom has learning stations appropriate for the age group present. All of the common subjects are displayed in an artful, interactive way.
In the morning the children come together as a group for an activity such as singing or dancing. Then they are released to go to the learning station of their choosing, and can move about freely throughout the day. They can work independently or interact with the other children.
The teacher primarily is an observer, but is present for questions and anything the children may need. As she learns each child's learning style, she will make note of areas they need improvement on and create opportunities for them to hone their own skills.
We had initially decided to hold off another year since N is only two, but ultimately decided that we thought this was not only as, if not more, cost effective than day care, but it was also best for her restless mind. She will glean so much more from this environment than she does at her current day care.
She has to be two before she can enroll, so she won't start right at the beginning of the school year, but since her birthday is just a few short weeks after school begins they were willing to hold her spot. Gah, I thought I had a couple more years before this day came!
Oh and for those of you who don't read my other blog, check out N's new Montessori room.