Montessori Grads

Had lots of fun at Nefarious’s school’s graduation ceremony. Her age group sang songs like La Poule Maboule and This Old Man. The structure of a Montessori school is that a single class is about the same size as a normal school’s class, but it’s got a three or four year age spread, the concept being that it’s good for social abilities to mix them, and also that older kids mentor the younger kids, which builds important skills. The school is also “non-competitive” and they’re also help each other with their work (which one of the kids called a “good kind of cheating” or something), with the idea that kids helping each other forces literacy with the work they’re doing and causes one to understand it far better than simple memorization. I agree. Anyway, La Poule Maboule by all four classes at her school —

She was a little sad not to see everyone she wanted to in the audience, but gleefully made binocular faces at Caitlin and I. At her first school concert she was very shy and actually left the stage, so it was great to see her happily belting out the tunes this time.

The graduating (grade six) kids all gave speeches about what their Montessori experience had been like, almost every one emphasizing how happy they were about the independent and self-disciplined work environment, and listing the similar ways in which it had helped them excel. I have to admit that both Caitlin and I were at first like, “um, is this propaganda?”, but the reality is that they were quite genuine “thank you” comments and I have no doubt that the kids were all thrilled they’d been given the opportunity to go through the program. Their achievement was underscored not just by their poise, but by the many prestigious (and difficult to get into academically) schools they’d been accepted to.

Although it’s not the core focus in the kindergarden program, Nefarious’s reading and writing and math is pretty good, and she made me a wonderful father’s day gift, an illustrated book with many short stories of different things we do together — and some she wishes we did, like driving our ice cream truck! I like that they start with cursive writing, as it’s becoming a lost skill.

We did bike to the park today, as most days, and must have stayed there for around four hours, as we bumped into an old classmate of hers that’s about the same age. Yesterday we were there with our neighbor, also five. It’s interesting though, because I don’t live in that wealthy a neighborhood, but the majority of the kids go there with nannies. I really have to wonder about people who work extra hours in order to make less money and spend less time with their kids. What’s the point? If you only want to have a kid for one hour a day, then why not just volunteer at a day care or something?

But I read today that there are a million slaves in America today, and that the average slave today costs $90. I sometimes wonder whether any of the pseudo-illegal girls I see working as nannies are slaves or their equivalents — servants that were brought in, unpaid or barely paid, without enough assets escape, perhaps with their passports taken by their “owners”, and the fear that the government will be unsympathetic to them if they say anything.

Speaking of, we are also working on a jail for Nefarious’s Playmobile world.

It’s drying right now, and in the morning before we leave for Ontario Place, we’ll spray it with silver spray paint, then another coat when we get back, so it’ll be ready for prisoners on Monday.

5 Comments

  1. cirrin wrote:

    I went to a montessori school until I was 6. I remember loving it. And then I also remember being bored off my ass when I switched to public school and the pace was so much slower. And repeated things I’d already done. The school wanted to have me skip all the way to third grade, but my parents said I could only skip one grade so I started public school in second. Anyway, Montessori schools rock. And it’s no surprise to me that that’s the school you chose for her. :)

    Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  2. estrojenn wrote:

    i just had my 2 year old niece at my house for the entire weekend, and we had such a great time. though i don’t have kids, the time i spend with Livy has such an impact on me…i couldn’t imagine having my own child and not spending as much time as possible with her. if i though having someone else raise my child was a good idea, it would be a pretty good indicator that i probably shouldn’t have one!

    Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  3. Mars wrote:

    I started at a montessori school too, mostly because I asked to go to school before I was old enough according to public school standards. I enjoyed it, and I recommend montessori to just about anyone! I was only 4 years old and they fed us raw oysters one day, and I was one of the only kids that ate them, and the only one that actually liked them.

    Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Nick wrote:

    Playmobile is fantastic stuff! My kids love it and get caught up in such wonderful lands of their own creation. I remember having it as a child myself (always a gift from the European relatives) and I didn’t like it beacause it didn seem “North American” enough. Now I love it almost as much as they do.

    Monday, June 16, 2008 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
  5. Scienkoptic wrote:

    My mother went to school in a Montessori school err, I mean a one room school house in Germany.

    Her education is decidedly better than mine.

    Many of my customers have nannies and miserable little children. I’ve often wondered why they bothered having kids in the first place.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 11:02 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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