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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Montessori Article

Thanks Marie for alerting me the link to this excellent article about the Montessori method and needs of the infant/toddler! I found it very relevant, as well as timely (see my current reading list). I think everyone with a child should read this article and think hard about it.


Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

"A mother may say, “I don’t understand why my baby always gets up at 4 a.m. to break into our sleep.” By drawing her out, you may discover that she gets the child to bed at p.m. because she wants a long, free evening to herself." - Motessori article

Or they might say, as I would, that despite the fact that they play with and interact with and dote upon their baby until he falls asleep, he never goes to bed before nine, and usually not before ten, and rarely naps, and gets sick all the time but only since he has stopped sleeping enough, and they truly are worried that he is not getting enough sleep.

I actually really hated the article. I disagreed with so much of it that it's difficult to think of one thing. Oh wait, I have one. That mom is the natural tutor. Not in my family. You should see daddy at work with Ander!

But mostly, and the reason I used the word "hated," I can't stand any article that uses the underlying assumption that if you disagree with the author, you must be guilt-ridden and trying desparately to make up for it! What?

I believe in structure and family-centered (as opposed to child or parent-centered) parenting. I don't believe that because it's cool (as I definitely hear critisms from both sides - people who, unlike me, spank and actively oppose nursing in public and people and people who, unlike me, do extended nursing and baby-wearing). My chosen (or, more accurately, slowly and carefully well-developed and invented) form of parenting isn't "cool" with most people. I am very supportive of the idea that to be the best parent you can, you have to do what works for you and your family. That's the reason that I am so supportive of my child-centered or parent-centered friends. I truly believe that they are doing what they believe is best for their families, and as a consequence, will get good results.

It's totally okay with me to be a minority about the way I parent. No guilt here over how I parent. I would not stick Ander in a Montesorri program to deal with guilt or to look like I'm trying. I would only put him in such a program if I truly thought it best for him. (And after age 3, I probably would not think that. :))

So I didn't like the article, and I definitely disagree that everyone should read it. Even a child-centered parent, who would likely agree with many of the tenets set forth in the article, does not benefit from an author who contends that disagreement with her proposed parenting style must be trying to overcompensate for parental guilt. That's a sweeping accusation to make about all parents who disagree with her. I dislike sweeping accusations about parenting, becuase it's about time, IMHO, that parents get to together and support each other, even where we very fundamentally disagree, instead of bashing each other.

I hope you don't mind that I commented so much negative stuff about an article you liked. I guess I figured you put it out there for discussion and evaluation, so I considered it carefully and discussed. If I'm wrong, I certainly wouldn't be offended if you deleted this comment. It is your blog after all. Hugs.

Mathochist said...

Oh, you know me, I welcome dissenting opintions as long as they're presented respectfully. (And you always do!) And I didn't say you had to agree with the article, just read it and think about it. ;)

I am not sure I understand what you mean by family-centered as opposed to child-centered parenting.

"Even a child-centered parent, who would likely agree with many of the tenets set forth in the article, does not benefit from an author who contends that disagreement with her proposed parenting style must be trying to overcompensate for parental guilt."

I didn't even catch that spin when I read the article. You're right though. I was more focused on some of the finer points of the article, which totally mesh with my intuition as a parent - that kids are unique beings and deserve to grow as they are designed by God to do, rather than fit some parental ideal of sleeping quietly in a crib or playing in a playpen all day while Mommy keeps a perfect house. And that spending the time to develop your child's sense of self worth when they are young - by spending your time with them instead of just around them, and being their teacher (or tutor) - is one of the most important jobs a parent has. I have no problem with that parent being Dad if that's the way your family dynamic works. Ideally it should be both parents anyway! (Or MawMaw or another carefully chosen, loving caregiver for part of the day if it is necessary for both Mom and Dad to work!) I too think that each family has to find what works for them. But - I would also challenge each adult in the family, as the article tries to do, to really scrutinize whether what they're doing works for everyone (parents and children) or is what works best for the parent.

I would have to think hard about putting my kids in a Montessori school, because her method has been so secularized. Her original intent (at least as far as I've gathered from the little reading I've done on it so far) was not just to develop a healthy intellect in kids, but also a healthy body, AND A HEALTHY SOUL! And this, IMO, is the most important job a parent has to do in the precious little time that these little ones are actually little.

On the sleep thing, I worry about that with Sammy too. How is he behaving at the end of the day? And what time is he getting up? I found The No-Cry Sleep Solution very helpful, and actually reassuring in my case - some kids (few, but some) don't need as much sleep as others, and Sammy just seems to be one of them. OTOH if you KNOW he needs more sleep, you might have to get creative about making a good sleeping environment for him. The world can get to be a scary place when you're 1 and bigger and starting to understand more things. And he might be staying up late because he enjoys spending the time with his parents. (And who can blame him? They are cool!) I think this is about the age Sammy started having bad dreams, and Katie is now too - I've this heard can also contribute to sleep issues... Just some thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em. ;)

Stephanie said...

I Loved the Montessori article. Thanks to you and Marie for sharing. I did a 6 week Montessori overview at The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder CO 11 years ago and learned so much more than just how to set up the Montessori Enviorment. One of the sessions I went to was on Infant Montessori. It was very eye opening as I had always seen it used in a daycare type setting nd it seemed so far from Maria Moontessoris ideas in her books. In this session they talked about infant Montessori rooms the way she did them. They were all about the child and mom or dad went with and stayed for the 2 hour program and interacted witht he child as they were taken from each area of the room to another. We have now added infant Montessori rooms to meet the needs of parents just like our grocery stores now have banks, fast food and hair/nail salons. Mom and Dad can drop all of the children off in one place and in the meantime the parents think their child is getting top of the line education begining at the age of 6 weeks. In order for that to happen there would have to be 1:1 ratio which I have never seen so my humble opinion about Montessori as an infant as a high priced daycare.

stephanie who loves the Montessori method in my home.