Thursday, January 26, 2012

A NAMC Student’s Experience as a Montessori Parent: Follow the Child

NAMC montessori teacher and child work with red rod sensorial material follow the child help autismPart 2 of 4 - Follow the Child
This four-part series include excerpts from an introductory letter written by a NAMC Lower Elementary diploma program student, Rachel, to her NAMC tutor. A mother of six boys, she was first introduced to Montessori in seeking alternative method of education for her first son. Her first four sons attended public school since kindergarten, with the oldest three beginning their education in Montessori preschool. Rachel’s two youngest boys, aged nine and ten, are autistic and she has chosen to complete her NAMC 6-9 diploma so that she may work with her sons using the Montessori method.

Would trying the Montessori "follow the child" approach benefit my autistic sons?

Some time ago I asked my niece, a high school history and Spanish teacher, what she thought about the Montessori method. I cannot quote her exactly because it has been too long. This is what I remember: she felt that students who entered the school from Montessori schools had difficulty conforming to the schedule of the school and the teachers. She felt they were undisciplined.

I find it very interesting that my fifth son (age nine) who has Autism is currently facing this very problem in the public school system he has always attended. He refuses to do his work and to move from place to place on an imposed schedule. I wonder how necessary this approach is, instead of children learning and working on their own internal time clocks.

Montessori teaches freedom within limits. Self-correcting Montessori learning material must be used properly and children are taught how to show respect for others and for their work. I am not sure that what my niece says is actually a detriment. I admit not knowing a lot about the Montessori method beyond preschool but from what I have read it seems that Montessori elementary students are encouraged to work in groups on projects, which is what most of the adult work world is doing. Or at least it is what my husband is doing and team building seems to be extremely important.

Related NAMC Blogs:
The NAMC diploma program and materials provide a comprehensive curriculum for Montessori educators:
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, January 26, 2012.

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