I am in my thirties and I just realized that I missed my whole education. I wish I could go back to 1986 and that the Maria Montessori method of education would have been so highly accepted in France that my parents would not have had any options other than enrolling me in a Montessori school. I feel that my life would have been very different if I had received this style of education.
I always felt misunderstood and for me school was just a waste of time. I am a dreamer. I would sit in the back of the classroom, close to the window in summer and next to the heater in winter. I would watch the seasons as they went by... birds singing in spring, leaves falling in fall, wintery snow flakes, and staring at the bright summer sun as long as possible without blinking. I was not found of school. What a frustration it must have cause me that I can still remember the childhood poems that I had to memorize word by word, comma by comma. And how about math! Teachers taught us to use our fingers to count, then traumatically told us not to. I can still picture those countless pages of fractions, additions, subtractions and divisions that I had to do. And the teacher, walking down the rows making sure we were staying on task. I would just look out the window, wishing I were a bird and fly away (so my bird tattoos represent my childhood frustrations). The worst part of a non Montessori education is the homework. I remember getting in big trouble when failing to do my homework. Who likes to add more hours after a long day of school! Everyday the teachers would review our assignments and grade them, and if the assignment was not done properly, we would be required to hand over a note to be signed by our parents. Ouch! Nobody wants to go back home with a note from the teacher.
School was painful. I did not have a lot of friends as I never felt I could be myself. Therefore, my creative juices were stifled. Grades were a great frustration as I grew up. Being constantly compared to classmates did not help build my confidence (which I am still lacking). The constant pressure that I had to go from grade level to grade level and how good results are crucial. But really, are they? Later, in your life, will you be judged on the good grades you had at school or on the person you became? If you ask my parents, I don't even think that they remember whether or not I was a good student.
Finding myself was a big introprospection. I spent the next 5 years after high school trying to get my niche. I first needed to find out who I was, then what I was good at. However, instead of discovering that at 23, I could have started this "finding myself work" at 3, when starting my Montessori education.
Surprisingly, Maria Montessori said that we become adults at age 23. She was definitively right, I got my life together and finally decide which direction to take at 23. Perhaps, If I had had a Montessori education I would have continuously be working in Communications and would have started my career way earlier. Or maybe I would be a journalist or a painter but not so.
Everyday, I have the chance to watch my girl working in her classroom, I can picture myself blossoming in this environment. I am such a hands-on person. I need to see, touch and play with materials. Combining, assembling, sorting, and matching in order to understand is the whole concept of Montessori. It invites you to learn at your own rhythm... Yes, your own rhythm! I would have loved working with the tower, assembling it step-by-step and leaning the decimals with the golden beads.
I would have made such a great Montessori student. I would have actually enjoyed receiving lessons, appreciated my teachers (instead of hoping that they were sick), and among everything, LOVE LEARNING ... my mornings would also have been way easier.
Photo credit: Helena Eddings
Here, it is all about food, children and me.
Claire, mom of two adorable girls. Montessori believer.
A few pounds overweighted and a few inches too short. Sometimes too French for Americans and most of the time too American for French people. Rarely down to earth but often out of my mind.