Thursday, 12 January 2012
Multi-age household and the importance of real life experiences
First off, thank you for your kind words and support following my last post. I am happy to have taken the decision to keep on going, I certainly hope you'll stay along with me!
I was mentioning in my last post, how my ways with X are also tainting the way I do with E and M. I just wanted to go a little deeper on that.
A few days after leaving for the holidays, I fell onto this blog post, that I wanted to share with you. I think it describes, better then I ever could, the difference between using the Montessori method and the Montessori philosophy at home. As you have all figured out at this point I am sure, I am all for the latter, which was not my first opinion on the topic. I started out using the Montessori method, only to realize that this was not how it was meant to be for us. But to go from point A to point B took me time: time to see for myself, to learn to understand. And I think the reason while I don't feel the Montessori method can really be applied at home is the exact reason E and M are being pushed away from it: the multi age group.
Hard core Montessorian will tell you that the multi age group is paramount in the Montessori method. IN regards to our family, I have come to understand that they are right. (with that being said, I see loads of Montessori blogger using the Montessori method at home and being totally successful at it. Different family, different experience...)
Now that I have many children, and that the age range is quite important between them (all of my 3 children are in a different Montessori age span), I can see how my last 2 are looking up to my oldest. Their actions, and their interest are very much modulated by his. And I know that in a Montessori classroom, success lies on this too: the oldest are demonstrating the way to go to the youngest, and they are also arousing their curiosity, pushing them to go further in a particular material.
Contrarily to the common belief, children are very interested in becoming better. They want to be precise, they want to be capable and they are willing to go out of their way to replicate the best they can what adults do. Looking up to an older person is essential to pick up the subtleties necessary to achieve the desired perfection, and what model is more interesting to follow then a beloved big brother?
After weeks of searching an answer, I have finally understood why the use of tray has died here. The beginning of the end for trays started at the moment I introduced real life activities to X, feeling that he was getting out of the 3-6 period, and more into the 6-9 one. M has been flat out refusing anything of what I thought was Montessori at first, only to understand that it was the trays. Trays have no link to a particular living experience, which is what *my* children seem to crave. She has been enticed by the "real life part" of X's activity, only to want some for her. And of course, it didn't take time for E to follow along.
And this is where I am extrapolating. But there is one principle that I have never stopped using and that will keep guiding my steps into this path: follow the child.
I am still working on the look of the blog. Please accept my apologies while it keeps changing back and forth. Thanks for your understanding.