School and development

Kent has officially started school at La Printanière Montessori. We had a visit last week to meet his teachers, he's been going for an hour each day since last Friday, and he'll go for his full three hours each day starting next Monday. I love the way they phase the kids in, making sure everyone is acclimated and that the older kids are settled before the newer kids arrive. They have 3- through 5-year-olds in the same room, so the newer ones rely so much on the older ones to model things around the classroom and to show them the routine. We've been very impressed with how comfortable we all feel as a family in this school, and Kent's teachers are terrific, so patient and warm with the kids and so helpful to first-time parents.

Kent has trotted off with his teacher each day in the carpool line, and then when I come to get him an hour later, he has a huge grin and is immediately bursting with stories from his day. He always starts with a report of what they had for a snack — snack duty rotates among the families, so the snacks are pretty different from one day to the next — then moves on to where they went on their walk that day, what things they learned in the classroom, what he played on outside, what puzzle he might have worked on, etc. Montessori is very big on empowering kids to do daily tasks by themselves, so he's getting some practice with scooping and pouring (what they call Practical Life) from actual glass containers. He's learning to do other things for himself like swing without being pushed, eat and clean up on his own, choose what he wants to work on, and even potty on his own, though he's been there for such a short time each day that he hasn't gotten to that last part yet. When his teacher brought him to the car today, she mentioned that he's been doing great so far, which I had already expected but was still happy to hear. It's a perfect environment for him.

I've been musing this past week that this is my first time being on the outside of his learning, rather than right there next to him while he's learning. I'm usually the one explaining, showing, singing, spelling, modeling, and all the other things teachers do, but now, for the first time, Kent is learning without me. It's incredible. He's completely blossoming. And I know that for the rest of his life, I'm not ever going to be as intimately connected to what he's learning as I was for those first three years, but that's part of him becoming his own person and coming to rely more on himself than he does on me. I was ready to let him experience that next phase of his development, and he's taken to it beautifully so far. I've felt very contented all week. I also breathe a sigh of relief each time I hear my friends talking about their kids' experiences in more traditional schools, with uniforms, scheduled potty breaks, and token reward systems. I feel like Montessori places such a high value on trusting our children, making these things unnecessary, and it really mirrors how I try to be as a mother.

We've revamped Kent's room a little, giving him different spaces and making an attempt to put things on his walls that are more relevant to him and what he's doing. This is partly inspired by school, partly just a revamping I've been meaning to do for a while. [Read: people have given him things to put on his wall that we've never managed to put on his wall.] My mom got him a cool little peg rack that holds dress-up clothes and doubles as a curtain hook to hold his curtain open during the day, so he can do that himself when he wants more light. He also has a reading corner, the most exciting aspect of which is his new red bean bag. It's also adorned with some wall art, including a "k" sign that his Aunt Morgan made him, a drawing Mom and Bill bought for him of jungle animals reading together, and a print of Marcus Pfister's The Rainbow Fish that I actually bought back in college because I loved the book so much.

For now, the reading corner is mostly another place to play with his trains and cars, but someday, I tell you, it shall be for reading.

This past weekend, we also put up a clothesline and bought little binder clips to hold photos Kent has taken. I had fun looking back through the "By Kent" folder of photos on my computer to find print-worthy ones he'd enjoy seeing in his room. I did briefly ask for his input, but he wanted to get every photo printed, including the hundreds of blurry photos of his and other people's feet, or just the floor. It will be a bright day indeed when he fully absorbs the "point" aspect of "point and shoot". Anyway, this is what the clothesline looks like in general:

And these are a few of my favorite photos:

He captures the best Dean faces.

I think this must have been his finger.

This is a drawing he made that he told me at the time was dolphins. That was one of the first times he had mentioned something specific he drew, so I insisted he take a photo.

Using macro mode (which I turned on for him), he took a cool series of the stacking cups that used to be his and are now Dean's.

This last one is clearly awesome. Show him macro mode, suggest he put the camera on the floor for a different perspective (bonus: it holds the camera steady), and just look what he can do.

He's also starting to be really funny on purpose, not just making faces/noises, but actually crafting his own humor. I love it. This evening, we were on our way home from dinner, and he was holding a set of puzzle blocks he had been playing with in the restaurant. He started saying something about how he was never going to see his puzzle again, and I figured he had dropped it on the floor of the car or something. When I turned around to look at him, though, he was holding it on top of his head, completely stone-faced. He let out a little guffaw when he saw me looking at him.

Labels: , ,



What a fun room Kent has! Very creative use of a peg as a curtain hold-back.
I love all of this! It is so crazy how fast they go!
What an awesome update! Kent has a pretty fun life. How quickly he's growing up too!
What a precious boy he is!
Just wanted you to know, Kent took pictures on my cell of his feet...so if you need feet pictures, I can accommodate!
Post a Comment

<< Home



what I read

where I go