This morning was orientation for ClaraJane at her Big Brother’s School! She will be starting as a three year-old in the fall.
Not that she doesn’t already romp around the school as if she owns the place on a regular basis. As one mom put it, “ClaraJane probably attends more meetings than most parents!” In fact, here she is in the school NEWSLETTER a couple weeks back.
Anyway, here she is sorting and placing beans in porcelain bowls today:
At this point a teacher gently escorted ClaraJane with this activity on the tray to a small work table to continue (as opposed to doing the work right there in situ on the shelf). This process of CHOOSING and carefully CARRYING your work to a WORK AREA to CONCENTRATE are just some of the hugely integral concepts in the Montessori style of learning. The environment is prepared -all scaled down to their size- so they can instinctively do exactly that. Guidance is provided in whatever area they express interest. It is all child-directed learning. No sitting at desks getting instructed by the teacher at the chalk board. I could go on and on. It’s VERY unusual to those of us from more traditional education backgrounds. Like, it’s so logical that to the untrained eye the learning almost seems invisible.
Yet, proof be in the pudding after only two years in this program, our KINDERGARDEN boy is reading at a 3rd (sometimes 4th) grade level; does lots of math including addition, subtraction, division, word problems, counting by 5’s, 10’s, 100’s, 1000’s, etc. He is also grasping large numbers (million, billion…), that EVERYTHING in the universe is made of atoms, and what infinity means. (Right; huh?) Hopefully he will also start grasping the importance of following through on his work, the accountability for which the Montessori approach has been eluding me lately.
But I digress! I meant this post to be about how cute and wonderful it was to finally see ClaraJane operating herself INSIDE a classroom, after all the romping through every OTHER space around campus. Here she is, exploring the pouring and serving of tea, including the wiping of ‘pills with a ‘ponge:
(This is an example of the curriculum for “Practical Life.” What a concept!)
To complete the exorcism of bragging rights, our Tobin Montessori is a real, live, PUBLIC Montessori School. Not only affiliated, tbut he Children’s House (for 3-6 year olds) was just reviewed and ACCREDITED by the immaculately persnickety higher-ups from AMS; the association in charge of overseeing the standards of all Montessori schools. And we gained access to this education by virtue of our tax dollars in our dear People’s Republic of Cambridge and, notably, by profound LUCK in the school lottery.
Alternatively, there is always the other Montessori program in town, Cambridge Montessori; yours for a trifling $24,000/year/child. (Ahem, sputter, cough.) There are also other GREAT elementary schools in Cambridge. Many of them were just ranked in the Top 15 State-Wide this year. Yet alas, they all start at Kindergarden (and some Pre-K I think).
As I said to my husband leaving this morning’s orientation, cloaked in humbling, exhilarating gratitude; “Can you imagine keeping ClaraJane in daycare for two more years waiting for Kindergarden?”
“Uh… NO,” he said.
Yeah, no. She may be “two,” but she is READY for “Tobin ‘Cool.” Just ask her!
If you can catch her…