It’s official now, I’m a parent of a child attending school. This past week my wife and I went to our first parent teacher meeting. My son’s instructor is a no nonsense tough as nails woman of Irish/Italian descent possessing decades of experience working with children. She kind of reminded me of the nuns from my own parochial elementary school days. They wielded power through a combination of discipline and intimidation…the intimidation manifesting itself via a good right hook to the head if you stepped out of line. The mere raising of an eyebrow from one of these holy warriors would result in even the most brazen student to cower in fear. Ah, the good old days.
Fast forward to the present and understandably I was a bit unnerved at the parallels of my school boy past and the path my son was now traveling. Yet deep down, I knew he would have the opportunity to flourish. The days of corporal punishment are long gone. Yet the essence of discipline remains intact. Most importantly, he is being given the opportunity to learn utilizing the Montessori Method.
The Montessori method is sort of a structured environmental approach that allows a child to develop individually without restriction or criticism at the child’s own pace. What was appealing to my wife and I was the hands on approach to learning observation skills by engaging in many types of activities. Science, art, spatial relationships, math, music and more are introduced to the children. When I first observed the class I was blown away by the aptitude of the older children. Forget about being smarter than a 5th grader. The question should be “are you smarter than a 5 year old?”
I am humbled and heartened by the days to come. My son has started school. In a way, so have I.