Earlier today, Kara went to the park and brought her walker wagon with her. She told us she'd fill it with "treasures." Usually, she'd pick up twigs, leaves of different colors, or flowers that fall from trees.
I usually just observe what she does. At one point, she couldn't push the walker wagon forward. She did not ask for my help, and I knew she wouldn't. She started going around, checking each corner carefully. Then 2.8 year old Kara told me: "Mama, there's a big rock in front of my wagon" (it was about the size of my fist).
I asked her what she will do. I didn't offer help because I always remind myself:
"Montessori said to help children to do things for themselves, and not offer unnecessary help."
Kara started pulling back the wagon and then moved the rock to the side with her foot. Then, she was able to push the wagon forward successfully.
Then, she said: "Mama, I'm going to school tomorrow right? I'm going to meet friends!"
It felt like someone just dropped a ton of bricks on me.
My heart is supposed to swell with joy and anticipation. I'm supposed to tell her: "there is a whole world out there and you are just dipping your toes into it and I know that you are going to make it yours."
I'm supposed to be beaming with pride because my toddler is going to school! This is a milestone for her! She is joining CASA!
And yet, tears started welling up in my eyes and I was gazing at her with trepidation. I didn't want her to start with school. She is my baby. She needs me.
So much for being a Montessori Parent, and for advocating that our role as parents is to give children opportunities to discover how to do things by themselves -- I wanted to just postpone schooling for another year.
But, the period of the Absorbent Mind is from birth to 6 years old and this is the time when children easily learn (with zero to minimal effort). Kara is also a "gifted" child - and being with kids of different ages is good for her. This is also one of the main reasons why we decided she is best suited in a Montessori environment.
The teacher bases the curriculum on the child's capability - not on her age or her test scores.
Children have emotional safety & also learn to self-discipline as patience and courtesy is given great value in the environment (i.e. sharing by taking turns, using the work mat to define work spaces, etc).
In a mixed age group, there is collaboration instead of competition.
Each child also gets a chance to be a leader & a follower.
And getting a chance to teach others is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Why? The best way you can show that you have mastered a skill, is if you can teach it.
We remember 10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss with others
80% of what we personally experience
95% or what we teach others
- Edgar Dale
Anyway, all I can say is -- I will try to hold back my tears tomorrow when I leave her in school. I got her matching backpack, umbrella, and lunch box -- just looking at these makes me want to cry again.
I know we get a lifetime, but somehow, the days seem so short. But, I cannot be selfish - and I can see and feel how excited you were when I said you'll go to school -- we want to see you flourish, interact and respond and grow more in confidence, make friends and …. so much more. I bet you're going to have plenty of stories on how your day went.
Will share a review of this walker wagon -- thank goodness this is now available locally. Kara accidentally destroyed the TLC one... she attempted to ride on it and the front wheels came off!!! It couldn't support her weight (13 kg) but this one easily does.