2014-09-04 22.04.06

Graduating Montessori — They’re ready. Are you? — By Bart Theriot

2014-09-04 22.04.06

About this time every year, at Montessori schools all over the country, some parents of Kindergarten, third grade and even 6th grade students are starting to feel a little anxious. Your children are leaving the Montessori “nest” and moving into the big wide world. One question keeps you awake at night “Will they be ready?”

To our MAB parents, let me be the first to say that yes, your child is ready. But we can only take partial credit. In fact, the top 3 list of highly influential factors in your child’s preparedness goes like this:

#1 The child
#2 YOU
#3 Us

So in the grand scheme, your efforts all along will end up having a greater impact than most of what our teachers have done.

Think about it. As the parent of a graduating Montessori student, you have put in years of hard work. Maybe more than you can even recall. You have taken the time to learn all about your child -the whole child. You have adjusted your home environment to allow for independence and self-directed learning. You have given your child time to grow (even when it seemed like there was no time). You have stepped back when other parents mistakenly step forward. You always placed effort over result. You have given ownership, responsibility and trust to your child. You have done all of this and more.

You (almost) never took the easy way out. You have focused on your language, attempting to phrase things positively even when behavior was not. You have limited screen time in exchange for a connection with nature and hands-on work. You have resisted forcing extra academics on your child because you understand the importance of self-directed learning. You have answered questions with questions. You have carefully chosen purposeful toys and games for the play room. You have attended as many of our parent learning opportunities as your schedule would allow. You know what the stamp game is as well as the metal insets. You have seen how the pink tower prepares a child for math and how washing dishes prepares a child for handwriting. You know why we seek to slow children down in a world where everything seems to be speeding up.

You have learned that peace is not just a word we throw around, but something that all children have the capacity to build. You encourage your child to have opinions, speak up and think differently. You model peer-to-peer interactions. You reinforce gratitude and never miss an opportunity to demonstrate generosity toward others. You realize the importance of patience and that it is a learned trait. You read with your child and let them see you reading for your own enjoyment. You travel to new places and learn of different cultures. You visit museums, libraries and historic sites. You have discussed what it means to be a friend and why that is important. You teach your child to protect ALL life and never to judge a book by its cover.

You know that even though grades are a part of the coming reality, they have little to do with the results of a worthwhile education. Your Montessori years have taught you that there are some things that cannot be quantified. Worse yet, there are some things that should be quantified but in conventional education, just aren’t important enough to merit a letter grade. Things like; patience, empathy, leadership, creativity, problem solving, generosity, responsibility, decision making, a love of learning and the knowledge that mistakes are opportunities. These are words and phrases you will read all over this site and probably in almost every blog I’ve written. These are words that we share with the children so they, too will know their importance. You can find these things so often here because they are what Montessori is all about and we are all about Montessori. Whether you realize it or not, so are you and so is your child. This will always be the case, because even though you and your child may be leaving Montessori, Montessori will never leave either of you.

Yes, your child is ready, and furthermore, so are you.