Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Not a Cult

Everyone has heard of Montessori preschool but no one seems to know what it means. I've had people say to me, "isn't that a cult?" or "don't they believe in having a completely colour free environment so kids don't get distracted?"

Up until a couple weeks ago I didn't know much about Montessori either. What sparked my interest was that a couple of moms I have tremendous respect for are homeschooling, and using the Montessori method.

I started researching about Montessori and I realized this method of schooling had already chosen us (okay, that does sound cultish).

I'm going to attempt to sum up the Montessori method based on the research I've done thus far. Essentially the teacher (me) is an observer, there to guide Levi's learning without interfering with his attempt to teach himself. The teaching is divided into three parts: motor education, sensory education and language. Levi can choose the activity he's interested in and I come alongside and help him until he wants to move on to some thing new.

One of the reasons I'm attracted to the Montessori method is it's focus on engaging the five senses. Levi has always been a tactile learner, he loves beauty, spicy food, and pausing to smell the flowers when we're out on walks. When I started doing crafts and learning activities with him (this was before looking into Montessori) he loved using his hands to create and learn. An example would be the moon activity we did together. As I explained craters to him he was able to "feel" what the moon's surface is like. A key thing to note is Levi was constantly asking me about the moon. I harnessed that interest and we learned more about the moon together. Currently, Levi's very interested in the changing seasons and so we're discovering what happens in the Fall. Now as I'm researching I realized we were already using the Montessori approach to learning.

It has been amazing to discover what Levi's learning style is and all the creative ways there are to engage his senses. The other morning He came into our bedroom and told us he was awake and "learning." Not playing, learning. Levi's as excited as I am about this adventure we're on together!

This is just a brief (yet long : ) ) explanation of the Montessori method. I highly recommend, Teaching Montessori in the Home by Elizabeth Hainstock for more detail.

P.S. You may have noticed no pictures and a different format. My laptop broke down and I've written this whole post on my phone, with autocorrect torturing me the whole way.


  1. Sounds like student-directed learning, which I think more schools are starting to lean towards. I've not done much research on Montessori but I have heard good things about it, and nobody has ever mentioned it to be a cult to me! Is that a popular sentiment?

  2. I don't think it's a popular sentiment but in general I think people are weary of any thing that is not a part of mainstream culture.