My husband and I have always been conscious parents – at least we’ve tried to be. From the moment our daughter was born, we’ve been very aware that we were raising an adult, not a child and we were ready to put her first. I like to think we got all our ‘selfish’ out before having her (and we LOVED it!).
As parents, we let her experience a lot of things for herself and try not to hold her back. Her favourite thing at 12 months old was “gardening” in the mud and being licked to (a very giggly) death by Nana’s chihuahua. I learned early not to overreact when she fell over and “Up you hop and shake it off” stills works today, as long as you do the shaky dance! We love to let her explore the world she lives in.
We learned her cues quickly too and we respected them. If she didn’t want to go to another adult for a cuddle, we didn’t make her. We didn’t stay out late and we scheduled our lives around her routine. We stood as her protectors, “The Naysayers of the Touchy Hands”! Seriously, what is it with complete strangers reaching out to touch babies? While our parenting foundations didn’t make us popular, it mattered little because parenthood isn’t a popularity contest and there’s not a single thing I would change about those first couple of years.
It was a back-handed comment that led us to the “alternative” school we love. I remember the day I rang the Brisbane Montessori School; the woman on the end of the phone was the first person I’d talked to that understood where we were coming from as parents. There was someone else out there that was working from the same page of the same book!
We took our daughter for a visit at 18 months old and when she was 2, she announced she wanted friends and it was time for her to go to school. So off she went.
Much more than just a school, Montessori is a way of life. At our introduction seminar, we were told “You’re parents! Congratulations! Now it’s time to step up your game.” YES! I thought…and knew we were in the right environment for us!
Our daughter has just finished her second term of Cycle 2 which is the equivalent of grade 1. While she can read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide – she can also look an adult in the eye confidently and have a conversation, she has a greater understanding of herself at 6 than most 2o year olds I know and she understands how she is impacting the world around her.
A Montessori education certainly isn’t for everyone, but it works for us. MOST importantly, it works for our daughter and she loves learning. Investigating your options is the first step. There are so many options available to parents these days, you just need to start looking.
I’ve loved our journey so far and I can’t help but tear up just a little when I look back at where she started.
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