Nana knows best: Observations from a Montessori educator & grandmother
“Look, Nana! It’s Europe,” exclaimed three-year old-Dylan as he pulled out an irregular shaped piece of red construction paper from his backpack. As a retired Montessori teacher, I recognized it right away. “I see you poked it out,” I acknowledged with a smile on my face.
To some, that small bit of red paper may have looked like just a scrap, but after 39 years in a Montessori classroom and now a Montessori grandmother, I knew it represented much, much more. In his carefully prepared classroom at Mountaineer Montessori, Dylan was offered a myriad of stimulating activities from which to choose. That day, he decided to undertake a demanding and time-consuming fine motor activity. Under the guidance of his well-trained teacher, he learned how to carefully grasp the poking tool and punch holes precisely on the outline of Europe. Completing this work required concentration, self-control, and perseverance. You can imagine his feeling of accomplishment when, after considerable effort, he was able to hold the shape of Europe in his hands.
That is the beauty of the Montessori classroom. It offers the child an environment designed to thoughtfully exercise his natural tendencies for exploration, manipulation, repetition, exactness, activity, work and self-perfection. It allows the child the freedom to follow his internal motivation and to make the choices that will satisfy his needs while under the watchful eye of knowledgeable adults. The result is a child who develops qualities that support life-long learning.
I am so pleased that my grandson, Dylan, is attending Mountaineer Montessori School. As soon as I observed the Primary classroom, I knew it was the best setting to help him reach his full potential. I look forward to sharing many Montessori moments with him!
By Jane Reifsynder, a retired Montessori educator with 39 years of experience, and grandmother of Dylan, who is now six.
If you are considering Montessori for your child, we invite you to call our office to schedule a tour: 304/342-7870.