Welcome to Montessori Around the World. This is a series of interviews with Montessori families and caregivers from around the globe. Here you get to see the similarities and differences in how Montessori is practiced and read first hand about how it has shaped people's lives.
So, Alex, what's your Montessori story?
My background is psychology and I've had some experience in early intervention and literacy training so I had come across Montessori before having kids. We got on a waitlist for a private Montessori school when I was expecting my first and implemented a few things at home both naturally, based on a few blogs and other things I had read, and out of necessity like getting the toddler involved in the kitchen because she was always underfoot. I would say I started with really basic practical life and became much more mindful as I started studying the method more deeply. Preparing the environment was a huge development and made all the difference in our lives expecting and welcoming a second child. Now, a year into the pandemic we are fully homeschooling and all in to the Montessori life! It has given me the confidence and a solid plan moving forward.
Has Montessori affected your lifestyle and how you chose to parent / care give?
I've always identified as a conscious or attachment parent and since I initially viewed Montessori as an educational approach I figures I would take what works and fill in any gaps. As I've developed a deeper understanding I've come to view it as a lifestyle and it has very much made the way I interact with and "teach" my kids. I feel that I am more peaceful, respectful of their needs and focus, and I worry less about how to force what I think they should know or do or be.
Please share a Montessori success and / or unsuccessful attempt story that has stuck in your mind.
There are SO many! Every day seems to be a new development. I would say the peace in our home is a major success I attribute to Montessori which greatly helped when the baby was a newborn. However, toddlers are still toddlers so many activities I thought they'd love end up strewn around the room because little sister thought the salt tray would make a nice sensory bin (as just one example) I still consider even the most epic fails as successes because it's all learning whether for them or for myself.
What’s your favourite Maria Montessori quote and why?
It's really hard to choose just one I'd like to say something about nature or movement but I think the quintessential quote that I always circle back to is "I observed the child, I sensed their needs, I tried to fulfil them."
What do you consider to be the most important aspect of Montessori at home?
It's not only about what activities you can give them to keep them occupied and educate them or cultivate their focus although all of those are wonderful benefits. For me, it's really slowing down and seeing them. You get to know who they are as their own person. You get a front seat to watching the wheels turn in their mind. It's amazing to see them figure something out, say something cute and random, or hum a made up tune to themselves. I sometimes tear up in those moments out of sheer gratitude for the privilege of being able to witness them becoming.
What one piece of advice would you give to others starting out on their own Montessori journey?
My main advice is to connect to Dr Montessori. Others have interpreted and expanded upon her work and have made valuable contributions but I really think understanding her mission and method is key. So many misconceptions and misunderstandings can be cleared up by simply reading what she actually had to say.
And OBSERVE the child!
Interview of Alex Price by Mie Mari Sløk Rusdal and Jude Saffron
Come join in the conversation at: