Sunday, April 3, 2011

Introduction to Montessori

This weekend we attended the birthday party of the son of a physicist. Needless to say, there were some smart people there, including twin three-year old boys who already speak German, Hungarian and English. Wow.

The family hosting the party is very much into the Montessori style of learning. The mom had spoken to me about it during some walks we’d taken, and while I’d listened, I didn’t take too much active note. The local Montessori is so crazy expensive (ie. expensive private college expensive) that I didn’t look at anything beyond the price tag. But when she mentioned how her family organized their house so their son could take responsibility for many things himself (using a chair he can climb up and down, placing a snack drawer within his reach, etc.) I thought that sounded intriguing.

Today, when I saw River play with their large collection of Montessori toys, I got an inkling of how cool this system might be. He was taken by their collection of wooden puzzles– a tree, a leaf, a horse, a flower. They were fairly difficult. At times, he asked me to figure out where a piece went and I couldn’t figure it out. But they seemed designed in a way that offered small clues of where to put things that eventually connected together. On the back of the flower pieces, my friend had written the parts of the flower.

So I went home and purchased the flower puzzle, the horse puzzle, and a few other items from this store, where she said the prices are lower. She also recommended this site for a larger selection, but higher prices.

Upon looking at all the Montessori toys, I’m impressed, but also overwhelmed. I know nothing about the method other than it’s supposed to promote child-led learning. Since River definitely won’t be going to Montessori school, it is worth digging further into the philosophy, investing more in some more of the toys/materials (if so, which ones?)? Or should I just have faith that he’ll eventually learn the same things through experience and/or traditional methods?

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

it's totally worth adding whatever interesting elements to his education that you can find, regardless of whether you go whole hog or not. Consider it an investment in an eclectic approach:) -I am smitten with Waldorf-style ed, & while we cannot a proper school, or most of the toys, I follow it where I can...