For my first post I felt torn. Should I dive into a “Montessori” activity straight up? Should I talk about Montessori philosophy in detail? After much thought I felt that I should explain why we do what we do. The easiest place to start is at the beginning.
The essential philosophy and catch-cry you will hear from Montessorians worldwide is “help me to do it myself”. This encapsulates the foremost thoughts in Montessori thinking of independence and what is referred to as “The Absorbent Mind”, something that Maria Montessori derived from observing that children under the age of 3 learned language and other things without needing lessons and simply learn through being a part of the environment and absorbing what they need to know or what they are exposed to. My beliefs prior to having a child was that parenting was something to be gotten through (especially the early years) and that it would be years of doing things for your kids before they could contribute themselves. How wrong I was!
My attention was drawn to Montessori pedagogy through my husband who is himself a Montessori early learner and attended a small, local kindergarten. I have questioned him closely on his memories of kindergarten so that I can compare them to mine. Sadly my memories of kindergarten (I attended a local public kindergarten) are fragmented and hazy.
On the other hand, my husband has very little recollection of life that early, however he has a very good memory of his early experiences at Montessori kindergarten. It is fascinating to question him and show him apparatus that trigger that “light bulb” moment for him. When questioned “what does it feel like to be a Montessori kid” his answer is “I don’t know, it just is” but the fact that he clearly remembers things from that early in his life says to me that it had such a positive effect and impact that it imprinted itself in his memory.
That’s the Absorbent Mind for you.
And that’s what we want for Joshua.