Monday, 25 September 2017

Surprise, Montessori Parents are Not Perfect

Today for Montessori Monday, I wanted to write about something that has really been on my heart and mind in the past few weeks, which I feel I received some guidance on recently.

From what people see of Montessori parents and guides, it may appear that they are especially patient, creative, or somehow predisposed to being successful in Montessori.

As if the Montessori guide needs to be a special brand of human.

I know I have felt this way to some extent, and have heard it from a few of my peers.

The reality is that Montessori parents and guides ideally want to become, and strive to be, patient, observant, non-violent, prepared, and methodical.

But, and this may be blatantly obvious, even with the best of intentions, Montessori parents and guides are still just people.

We are just working towards habits, goals, and having bad days and moments along the way.

I really love the way this blog articulates this point:

Parenting the Montessori way is all about adopting a new way of thinking and developing new habits. Over time you'll train yourself to do less, say less and interfere less. [...] Establishing clear and consistent expectations, modelling appropriate behaviour, and encouraging your child's efforts are a few of the habits you'll develop as a Montessori parent. {Lisa at Montessori Methods}

What is the "Control of Error"?

While reading the Absorbent Mind, I was enchanted but was left, at times, feeling wholly inadequate as the adult in charge of facilitating the environment for my children.

In the Montessori method, all materials are created with a control of error built into them.

A child working with these materials will become aware of his own mistakes and correct himself.

For example, in working with the pink tower, a child will be able to discover an error if they are left with an extra block in the end, and must re-assess where he has placed the other blocks in order to find where the extra one belongs.

It is valuable for children to correct their own errors, instead of having someone else correct them, as this helps them develop the skills needed for self-correction, self-awareness, and free will.

How the Control of Error Applies to Character Formation

This control of error is important in character formation, for guides and parents, along with the children they serve.
According to Maria Montessori: if we seek perfection, we must pay attention to our own defects, for it is only by correcting these that we can improve ourselves. [...] Mistakes, to us, have a particular importance, and to correct or eliminate them, we have first of all to know them. {Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind}

Far from being perfect already, the Montessori method is all about being aware of errors. as these errors are important opportunities for improvement. 

It is only by being aware of our errors that we are able to eliminate and grow from them.

I have seen the reality of this in my own parenting journey, especially when it comes to impatience. I was able to really combat impatience and grow towards being more patient because I knew this was a weakness.

Even on the days I do not feel particularly successful when it comes to patient parenting, I try to be grateful, as these days make me more likely surrender to prayer, and are often when I see new growth.

I am sure I will need to be reminded of this time and again, as being aware of weakness and error does not often feel like a positive thing, but once again, I am so grateful to Montessori for how comprehensive its teachings are.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

1 comment:

  1. I love this and could not agree more! It can feel like a lot of pressure to be a Montessori parent, but we are all just people :)