The weather seems to be warming up and it is nice to see the sun shining. As I walk through the classes I can see that it is Term 3 as all the children are well settled and confidently completing tasks to their satisfaction. Below is an article dispelling some of the Montessori myths that often abound in the community about Montessori education.
The Older Children are Too Big and Scary
When your child enters a Montessori class as the youngest, he or she may look so much smaller than the older children in the class. The mixed age grouping of Montessori classes means the age range of the class should be around three years; so to you the difference in height, bulk and even facial expressions between your child and the oldest children may seem marked. You may be comparing the ages in the Montessori class to your own sc hooling, because that is what you know. You probably experienced classes where the majority of the children were similar in age to you and this was the group from whom you selected your friends.
You may be concerned that the older children are too big and that they may scare or intimidate your young one, or even worse, teach him or her all kinds of inappropriate ways to behave. Or you may be worried that if there are different age groups, there won’ t be enough children of the same age or gender for your child to make friends with. You may also wonder how the teacher is going to be able to cater for the educational needs of the class with such a wide range of ages in the class. You are not alone; these are common concerns of Montessori parents. particularly when children are of primary school age.
While it can be true that older children behave differently and may try things that younger and more innocent children wouldn’t think of; for example experimentation with the use of ‘interesting’ language. The focus of the community is on enabling all the wonderful things inherent in multiage groups. Children are taught the skills of harmoniously living together in a community as a regular part of the curriculum through grace and courtesy lessons, or lessons in social living. The teacher uses her skills of observation and sees what skills the community of children need to learn and practise with each other.
In reality, even in a class of children all of the same age group, the ability and interests vary widely and the introduction to ‘interesting’ language still occurs. Having a class of children with a range of ages does not affect the ability of the teacher to effectively teach them. The Montessori-trained adult understands your child’s developmental needs and will develop individual plans so that your child can learn at his or her own pace, not having to rush to keep up with someone else or wait for others to catch up.
Your younger child has role models for how to act in the classroom and older children with varying interests and abilities to work with. Your child can be stretched or helped as necessary and will have many peer teachers willing and able to work with him or her. And, let’s face it, children pay far more attention to each other and their older heroes than to us adults. The older children have the chance to learn the value of helping others and consolidate their learning through becoming ‘the teacher’ themselves. As for friends the same age; I’m sure your own friends today are a range of ages with personality and interests being a more important factor in friendship than age. Having friends from different age groups is a great preparation for the rest of your c hild’s life.
When your child enters the class as the youngest and newest he or she is the observer, the person who looks to others to see how they should be, the child who asks for help and enjoys being taken care of. Your child is the social beginner at the bottom of the ladder when he or she starts in the class. By the end of the three years your child w ill have climbed to the top of the ladder and will now be one of the leaders and role models of the classroom. Your child develops empathy and has some time in the limelight as the leaders of the classroom, honing and developing these skills as he or she becomes the oldest in the class.
Watching a new child come into the class and be welcomed by the older ones is magical. Watching an older child blossom and take their place as the leader is just as amazing!
Don’t forget our Bunnings’ Fundraiser/Sausage Sizzle Saturday September 6. Please put your name down if you are able to help on the day, even for a short time. The notices are in each foyer.
Also just a reminder to never leave your child in the car. If your baby and/or child are asleep or unwell you could always ask another parent to stand by the car while you duck into the centre to collect your child.
Children left unattended in car laws
It is illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle in all states and territories of Australia.
In Victoria, it is illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle under the Children, Youth and Families Act (2005). The penalties for leaving a child unattended in a car in Victoria include:
- A fine (currently $2,165), or;
- A maximum of 3 months jail
DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
- Monday 18 August: Student Free Day
- Saturday 6 September: Bunnings’ Sausage Sizzle
- Friday 19 September: Term Three finishes
- Tuesday 7 October: Term Four begins
- Sunday 26 October: Working Bee