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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

What do Children Bring Home from Montessori school?

Do you ever wonder what children bring home from a Montessori school? Yesterday, for the first time in weeks Nora’s backpack came home brimming with things. See, she only takes home work when she feels like it, and she only shares it with me when she wants. 

That’s just how it works (or should work) in a Montessori school. The sum of Nora’s work isn’t measured by the stuff she brings home. The “important” work is done at school. And this may or may not have anything to do with academics. The important work can be learning how to be a member of a community, how to serve another, how to take care of your environment, how to make a friend feel special, and so much more. 

And the results of this work are not as easily measurable as bringing home a sheet of paper or a project. It can be seen in Nora's confidence, in her self esteem, in her concern for others, and, yes, sometimes in the joy of bringing home a project she has chosen and executed on her own. 

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So, what did her backpack contain? 

  • Several loose pages of rubbings - both textures and shapes 
  • A couple pieces of hardened clay - molded into shapes and painted 
  • A beaded necklace 
  • A book of colored metal inset tracings 
  • Several notes/pictures from friends to Nora 
  • Many small squares of fabric with various buttons sewn on

I want to stress that we don’t put any pressure on her to “produce” at school. I know when Henry attended a traditional preschool, the stuff coming home was relentless. It was as if we had to have some sort of paper to come home or else the day really didn’t happen. But, here, everything that Nora brought home has meaning to her. Each was something she carefully worked on and decided to bring home. I find the gifts from others to be particularly interesting, and it makes me wonder what she has shared with her own friends.

What do your children bring home from their time in school? 
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