This is the first in a three-part series about who I am in the world of Montessori. I have several different facets of a Montessori life, starting from when I was three years old and continuing (shh) 40 years later. I want you to get to know those different parts of myself as I start to share some of my thoughts and stories with you. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
When I was a toddler, we temporarily moved in with my grandparents while my parents’ store was being built. They also built a small house/apartment at the end of it so that we could live right there. So while we were waiting, I had my own little room up at the top of the stairs at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Supposedly they would often come upstairs to find me awake from my nap and holding a book properly and looking like I was reading it.
Then one night, I started crawling to my mother, handing her my alphabet blocks, turning them like Vanna White and announcing the letter names. I did watch an awful lot of Wheel of Fortune with my grandfather, who was suffering from cancer.
Time goes on and they realize that I am actually reading words and short books, and not in the memorized way that children often start out in. I’m also an inquisitive little darling, following everyone around and asking a million questions. By this time, the store is open, I am now 3, and I have a baby sister. I also did not nap. So my parents started asking around about what to do with me so that my curiosity could be satiated and they could focus on the store and my baby sister.
A friend told them to check out this Montessori school she had heard of. It was only a couple of miles away, so my dad went for a tour. He said, “As soon as I walked in, I felt at home and knew this was the perfect place for you.” So in January, as I turned 3 1/2, I started my Montessori journey in the afternoon program.
When kindergarten rolled around and it was time to make the decision about keeping me in Montessori for a full day or moving on to public school, my parents had me tested to get recommendations. I do remember that woman coming to our house doing all kinds of activities with me. She apparently told my parents that if I went to public school, I was going to be learning my alphabet. But I was already reading simple chapter books. If there was any way for me to stay in Montessori, that would be best.
So my mom became the bookkeeper for the school. That majorly helped to offset the tuition (especially back in those days) so that I could continue on and my sister could start. I stayed through the end of sixth grade. My sister had one year as a toddler and made it halfway through the seventh grade year, which was the first at that school and had a lot of issues that have long since been rectified.
And even after I graduated from the school, because of my mom’s connection as an employee, I was still able to go back to various functions and did various projects up until my mom left when I was a freshman in college. And that was the point at which I started working at a different school, which is another story.
So one of the things I want to do is to share with all of you some of my memories of being a Montessori kid. I have a lot. There were the good, the bad, and the ugly, but such is the realistic case in a school setting. I hope you’ll enjoy some of my reiminiscing about those days. You may relate to some of those stories. Plus I developed greater insight into my memories when I started my training and can really see the influence of Montessori on my life.
Coming up next, Who am I? I am a Montessori educator. Stay tuned!