This is a guest post from Michelle Bross, parent and author of My Child’s Gardener.
I just completed the Silent Journey and Discovery at OakHaven Montessori School. The Silent Journey is an invitation to experience the classroom from the child’s perspective. I didn’t have to be asked twice. I am actively seeking opportunities to use my right brain, experience moments of mindfulness, and otherwise see the world from the pure potential of a child.
With my mouth shut, I saw the classroom for the classroom for the first time. Now, that’s a lesson for life: be quiet and behold what is before you. I heard the chirps of the bird and the scratches of the bunny; I saw Nature on every shelf – shells, rocks, jewels; I saw bright, happy colors; I saw real materials – glass and art. I experienced the peace of mind that comes with order and simplicity. My first impression was the beautiful display of silent expectations: purposeful work, self-discipline, and responsibility.
We now have 10 years cumulative of Montessori education among our children, and it was never so clear to me why the Montessori Method is such a good fit for our family as it was during The Silent Journey. The Montessori Method is perfectly aligned with our family values, and that feels good. It’s the sense of fulfillment that comes when life is in harmony, and all aspects of life are aligned and support one another.
The inherent values in the Montessori Method are freedom of choice, self-discipline, respect of the environment, trust, and peace. And the source of all these…love. Surrounded in love, there is no room for fear. No fear of failure, no fear of mistakes, no fear of grades. The focus is on the process, not the product. It’s the ah-ha moment, not the grade that counts. There are no time limits on work, and the rewards are internal. It’s the innate wonder and curiosity rewarded with pure joy.
Specifically regarding my oldest child who completed the three-year primary program and is currently in her second year of Montessori elementary, I could not be more pleased with her academic achievements. It is true – she doesn’t have homework, hasn’t had a test all year, and we have no MAP scores. AND, she is setting greater expectations for herself than any teacher would; she follows her intuition and curiosity, and is internally rewarded; she loves to learn and takes great pride in her work.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ~ William Butler Yeats
To give my children this gift is my greatest priority. I believe next to love, this is the greatest gift I can give my children. The love of learning, the ability to think, and a cosmic education is the foundation for creating their own life of joy and peace, their looking glass to experience the world through.
My children can only reap what has been planted – I am their gardener, planting and weeding, planting and weeding…
Cultivating Love & Peace,