Journey of a Montessori Parent

The very first article I read that sold me on Montessori did not have the word “Montessori” anywhere in it. Seven years ago, when our first child was at the cusp of transitioning from baby to toddler, my husband and I walked into a Prospective Parent class at a local Montessori school. Until that evening we had understood Montessori to be an alternative method of education worth investigating. We walked out with several handouts, one of which was written by the founder of the school, Donna Bryant Goertz, and titled “Owner’s Manual for a Child.” It is written from the point of view of a child in the first plane of development and begins with these words, “Dear Parent, I want to be like you. I want to be just like you, but I want to become like you in my own way, in my own time, and by my own efforts. I want to watch you and imitate you”. I still possess my copy from that evening: creased, tear-stained, and printed on green paper.


Gateway Parenting

The theory goes something like this: if you use legal drugs such as tobacco or alcohol, or even what some consider “soft drugs” like marijuana, you are more likely to slip down the slope to using “hard drugs” like amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, than people who never get started using soft drugs in the first place. The starter drugs are often referred to as gateway drugs because use of them is seen as the first step through the gateway to even more dangerous behaviors.


Parenting Advice from America’s Worst Mom

Here’s a lovely little letter I just received that ended thusly:

….People like you that just send their kids out for the vultures of the world because you THINK you are doing them a favor, are horrible, lazy, undeserving so-called parents. What a shame that God would bless you with something for which you show such little disregard.

And you have a nice day, too!


Owner’s Manual for a Child

I am capable of being the finest example of your best attributes and values expressed in my very own way. If you will prepare a home environment carefully and thoroughly for me, keep my materials and tools in order and good repair, set the limits clearly and firmly, give me long slow periods of time to work on my secret plan, I will do the work of developing a new human being, me!


Montessori 2.0

An increasing number of apps targeted at young children are in the digital storefront; is there value for them? Does your 3 year-old have to have their own iPad? What would pioneering educator Dr. Maria Montessori think about these doo-dahs?


Boys and Gun Play

Elementary children need to experience themselves as increasingly powerful agents in the world. As their personal power increases with age and maturity, they begin to encounter all the classical questions about power with which humanity has struggled and continues to struggle. At the root of these questions is the fact that power and its uses define relationships.


Montessori and Attachment Parenting

Since my first son’s birth 3 years ago, I have gravitated towards Attachment Parenting. Yet, I have started to question: is it compatible with Montessori?


Toys for Children: Less is More

I’ve never been a big fan of toy boxes. They seem messy, and as if they’re designed for toys to get lost and/or broken in them. It’s hard to teach children to be careful of their toys when the way to put them away is toss them into a box with a bunch of other stuff. So when we started thinking about how to set up our son’s room and how to store/display his toys, I knew I didn’t want a toy box.


Conflict: Break It Up And Break It Down

In a previous post, we explored how natural consequences can help children learn to control their own behaviors. A question arose in the comments: “How should adults (parents and teacher alike) handle a child who is disruptive and aggressive to others?”


To Crib or Not to Crib

Excitement, happiness, anticipation, nervousness…..these are all feelings that rush through a couple’s mind when they find out they are expecting their first child. Then the questions start flooding in: Will it be a boy or girl? Who will it look like? Will it be healthy? What do we need? This last question can be a bit daunting. However, similar to being newly engaged, couples find joy in planning for their new life together and begin making lists of all the things they would like to have.


Practical Life at Home

As a stay at home mom, I am constantly looking for ways to incorporate Practical Life exercises into our home and routine. The great thing is, this isn’t all that hard… though it does require more time and patience, and I will likely have to go through and re-do things afterwards anyway. This can be frustrating sometimes, but it can also be really fun and rewarding – there’s nothing like realizing your kid really can do a lot more than you’d given him credit for.


It’s Only Natural

A parent of a new student called me to let me know I should “put Steven in a time-out if he is being naughty.” I thanked her for her suggestion, and mentioned that in Montessori we don’t believe in using time-outs. She didn’t seem convinced that I could “handle” her energetic son any other way, but after observing Steven in the classroom just a few months later, her perspective changed.


Independence: The Birthplace of Self Esteem

Lacy’s dad was one of those hands-off fathers who never changed a diaper or warmed a bottle of milk. Naturally, the thought of spending a week alone with a three-year old girl terrified him.