As Munchkin is quickly growing and now closer to age 2 than 1, I find myself getting caught up in the mom bubble: that scary place where I constantly compare myself to other moms and Munchkin to other kiddos. It’s an exhausting place! We live in a great neighborhood – one full of lots of young families with plenty of kids around Munchkin’s age. But, with all of these park dates and play groups come the unavoidable comparisons in child development and, more importantly, child activities.
When Munchkin was born, I cannot tell you how many people commented on how lucky his birth date was in terms of the public school cut off date in Georgia. I have not studied extensively in childhood education, but I keep coming across articles discussing boys slower development in comparison to girls. Also, I have heard numerous times from “boy parents” how they wish they had held their sons back early in their education. So, I’ve been of the mindset that I’m not in a huge rush to start Munchkin in any formal education program. But, that was before I entered the mom bubble.
Starting probably around the time Munchkin turned 6 months, I began to get questions about Munchkin’s activity schedule. While we are on the go a lot and are busy everyday, some days I do find myself wondering exactly WHAT we did to keep ourselves busy and have the day go by so quickly. (Then, I look at our living room floor covered in toys, and I don’t have to wonder anymore 😉 ) The more I debated about activities and school programs, the more I realized how much Munchkin learns every day just by living and playing. For now, I’ve decided that there will plenty of school days and performance tests in his future. Right now, I just want to enjoy him learning about his world in a more informal setting. I did decide to stay home with him for a reason, so I may as well soak up every minute before he grows up too quickly!
In all of the talk about activities and preschools with neighborhood moms, I kept hearing about the different options around us. Most of the preschools around are more “play” focused, which I think is great. One in particular is well known for its Montessori foundation, even going so far as sending its teachers to Italy for training. For all I know, this is just a rumor going through mom circles, but I did become even more curious about this method. I’ve heard a little about it from my mom here and there, but I wasn’t really familiar with the basics. So, I decided to look into it to see if there was anything worth incorporating into our day-to-day routine.
I started my Montessori education with The Essential Montessori. From the reviews, I gathered it to be a good starting point. It did not disappoint. Hainstock did a great job of summarizing Maria Montessori’s work and ideas. This book does not give a lot of specific guidelines on how to incorporate the method into school or home life, but rather a good overview of why one would want to. Along with the evolution of the method, Hainstock also includes a whole section of Montessori’s own writing, translated from Italian. Unfortunately, Montessori is extremely verbose in her descriptions, and I found it difficult to get through. I probably read the first part of the book in a day, but then I spent the rest of the week making my way through that one section. Still, I’m excited to see how her methodology transfers to implementation. I have a couple more Montessori books checked out from the library, and I can’t wait to crack them open. If you’re at all curious about this education philosophy, I would highly recommend this book as an introduction.
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