Montessori and me - introductory post
My second maternity leave has been a very special time - and more challenging than my first! Various things have helped me through, especially the wisdom & support of my mum, close friends & family. There’s not much widely-accessible training on offer for becoming a parent of two, I guess because its such a personal experience.
One thing that came at the right time for me was attending a 6-part course course entitled ‘Montessori in the home - for 3-6 year olds*’. It has transformed the last few months at home with my daughter and son.I found it strengthened my intuition about my little ones and provided an inspiring alternative to the lamentations of ‘terrible twos and threenagers’.
Montessori in the home is about acknowledging that everyday life at home is as developmentally rich as the classroom. It is about making positive behaviour something the children want to do. More than anything, it is about helping your kids to become happily independent.
I’m writing these posts with two hats on: as a parent, the issues addressed seem to come up increasingly in conversation with other parent friends of 2-4 year olds. And, with my Exec Education / coaching hat on, I found many concepts relevant to adults, as well as fitting with my own explorations with the Happiness Club, Marie Kondo etc. Seeing concepts such as flow, choice overwhelm, movement, mindfulness, and having a sense of purpose applied to 3-6 year olds really stripped them back to basics.
I think some context to the Maria Montessori approach is important before we dive into the concepts:
- Dr Montessori is best known for her work with the 0-6 age group and believed this age had the biggest impact on the rest of that child’s life, even greater than university studies
- 0-6 has a lot of similarities to 12-18 adolescent period - as the child undergoes the most physical changes during these two phases - so maybe the idea of a 'threenager' is not so misplaced!
- From 0-3 the largest amount of neurons are present in the brain and every time the child has an experience, it is like a layer of glue reinforcing certain neural connections
- At the age of 3, the brain starts to remove the weakest connections
- The mind is incredibly absorbent during the 0-6 age, and will demonstrate strong interests for particular activities - its really efficient at building connections in these areas. When they learn according to their interests they will learn ‘perfectly’. Once this prime time closes, they can still make the connection, but it will never be as perfectly formed.
So watch this space...
*the course was held at the Maria Montessori Institute on Baker Street