Wednesday, August 13

the getting of wisdom, Montessori style

" well, I'll just give it a try and see how i go... you should at least give things a go you know, Maia"

these were the words B2 used on her big sister last night when B1 denounced, in her very deprecating teenage way, B2s interest in doing gymnastics as completely stupid and that she would be totally hopeless at it.

I did a mental air punch and silent "yeah, sock it to her Lil". That statement of supreme confidence in the face of such scorn, made in a very calm and measured way was a revelation. It was the circle turned in full. It made me realise just how far we had come in the last 18 months, a real expression of the 'new' but 'old' Lily.

When the girls father moved interstate to live with his girlfriend, the girls were incredibly grief stricken. To go from an almost 50/50 shared care arrangement to a 'maybe every holiday' arrangement really knocked them around. Maia just kept quiet about it, but Lily, always the diva really acted up and played it out. Her self esteem plummeted to an all time low and it culminated in running away from school many times, reaching a creschendo of police searches and finally full suspension from school for trashing her school principals office (you go girl! I had to admire her angry audacity). Now while the school understood and empathised that she was not coping with events in her personal life and was angry and hurting, they had neither the time or resources to patiently walk alongside Lily while she healed and disrupted the rest of the class in the meanwhile. This kid was doing some serious mute table standing and alternating it with low level constant humming. I have always believed in public education but watching her behaviour escalate into a mini tornado i knew that suspensions were not going to solve the situation and that left as it was, her self esteem would continue to deteriorate and her learning would suffer and that keeping her in this school was no longer an option.

So after looking around at local options and exploring homeschooling (my mum and husband both volunteered - im the breadwinner), I decided that the local Montessori primary school looked great and they agreed to enroll her after a meeting with us and her therapist. Lily had HATED her Montessori kindergarten ( all that structure is really not her essential style- she forgets whats shes looking for when she opens the fridge!) and i was a little concerned that the self directed learning which forms a core of the Montessori approach would be used by this fiery Aries as an excuse to do absoloutely nothing or at least the bare minimum. After trying on her old tricks at her new school quite a few times she soon worked out that the Montessori approach to discipline was very different to her old school and after being calmly reminded for the upteenth time about reponsibilites, choices and consequences she finally 'got it' and this year has seen a child changed. So to see a despairing grief stricken and very pessimistic child transform into a confident, can-do, considerate, interested and optimistic leader, i know that her Hills Montessori School, through sensitive guidance and persistence has had a great hand in helping her realise her full potential. Last night i felt like i finally had my girl back.

“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.”
Maria Montessori

1 comment:

A said...

Rock on Montessori gal! :)