Everyone else is just regurgitating the method in their blogs and on their social media. So why don’t I? Here’s
1 ~ As a newer guide, I know how hard it is to get your footing in the classroom, because there isn’t always mentorship. I want to give others the information I feel could potentially be helpful and add value for parents, caregivers, other guides, and other educators raising young children. My hope is that some of the info can translate from my personal experience to yours.
There are so many “lessons” I learned from guiding all of my classrooms that AMI never told me. I want to help people get better at doing what AMI told us to do, and I also want to do what AMI told us to do (not train others in the method).
2 ~ Montessori how-to is supposed to come from Montessori trainers. These men and women (I think there must be male trainers out there somewhere) have spent even more years than us trained guides mastering the Montessori heritage to train people to become Montessori guides. Trainers are exceptional at what they do. They are basically the geniuses of this field. When you want chocolate expertise, perhaps you go to culinary school in Switzerland. When you want yoga expertise you find a guru India. When you want to learn spiritual information maybe you go to a pastor. Well if you want to learn how to do Montessori, you’re supposed to find a trainer.
3 ~ Other professional fields keep their knowledge close to the cuff in order to preserve the authenticity of information and the right to practice that profession (doctors, mechanics, personal trainers, you name it), why can’t Montessori educators demand the same?
4 ~ I don’t want to make anyone feel like crap by telling people all the stuff you “should” be doing. I just want to help people, potentially, by sharing the lessons I’ve learned. Every Montessori classroom reality is its own reality, and the classroom isn’t the home. I’m also not a mom. So I definitely can’t share any lessons on parenting.
5 ~ I have the wisdom to know what to look for, and I would rather help others know what you’re looking at instead of just giving the method to you. I know there are troves of information available on social media. But I’m not going to be another person who just hands the Montessori method over. I will not give you fishing lessons, in other words; I’m not going to tell you what fishing pole to buy. But you can sit with me and watch the fish while I fish, and I can tell you what I’m learning along the way– anything that did not come directly out of training, but enhances the experience of delivering the method, or parenting based on things I have learned from teaching Montessori programs for toddlers.
Once one actually gets trained, we know how to tease through the photos and websites properly. It’s the exact same phenomenon as being a registered yoga teacher. The 500-hour trained yoga practitioner knows the method behind the poses, how hard it actually is to be able to pull off those stunning inversions and arm balances with skill, and how to discern the self-taught people who fool everyone into thinking they must be an RYT because they took an Instagram photo in scorpion pose on a rocky precipice.
6 ~ I’m not here to shame anyone or inspire self-deprecating comparison, especially if you’re a new guide like me, or a parent. Though we hate admitting it, the abundance of information at our fingertips combined with social media can bring to our attention to everything we’re not doing as well as some blog, Instagram account, or facebook post suggests we could be. Training will most definitely open your eyes to all the things you never knew you were doing “wrong” and all the things that are more optimal and effective.
Raising and working with children is a dynamic process, not just something you can take a snapshot of and say “See? Look at my baby staring at this Munari I just whipped up real quick. Simple”. It’s not simple. And if you want the insider knowledge, you can pay for it and live through it just like we all did.
7 ~ I’ve dropped the idea of Montessori perfectionism; and I think it can be disappointing when you can’t achieve in your reality what you see on social media. The Montessori method appears close to perfection because Dr. Maria Montessori and other practitioners are so brilliant, and because the method has been refined over the course of 100 years. Dr. Maria Montessori was an exceptionally brilliant mind. But your classroom or your child are not always a vision of perfection, and I think especially in the Montessori world that truth needs to be told. I only had one classroom out of like, four schools that was anywhere close to training center, instagram caliber visually.
The every day parent isn’t expected to be able to reproduce amazing environments at home, nor should you if your child already attends a Montessori school program. I worked for programs, and even they lacked the funds to create this perfect, magical, training-center-esque environment. Drop the perfectionism, it will really help you in real life. Me telling you the training isn’t going to help anyone be more perfect.
8 ~ Because I know people have different intentions when they seek out the Montessori method. People hope they can learn how to hack childhood. And even if you are fully trained, guess what? It doesn’t guarantee you will have this dreamy child. Or people like to use enough of the information to get by, and then try to get rich off of it.
I don’t like when such powerful and potentially transformative information ends up in the hands of people with misguided intentions, and a lack of understanding.
A lot of Montessori blogs and social media make it seem like young children can be way more perfect than they actually are, because of the snap shot moments of idealism, staged environments and staged photographs, filters, edits, etc. Montessori does not magically make every child a brilliant, perfect angel. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the parents in my classrooms over the past few years, it’s that the reality of who a child is at home or in the community can differ significantly from what we see in the classroom sometimes.
I once saw a former AMI trained, masters-degree holding, used-to-be-a-head-of-school co-worker and her kid in a full-blown power struggle in the parking lot of my local library because her kid refused to get in the car. It got pretty darn absurd. I would have just grabbed the child and wordlessly carried him and put him in the car. She didn’t know that I caught this moment from afar, obviously. She also doesn’t know that I watched the same child pee his pants in the middle of a kids yoga class at 3 years old while I was doing children’s yoga teacher training and she was off doing her adults yoga class simultaneously. I will say, this woman was not infant or toddler trained and her son was about toddler level developmentally.
So I wouldn’t dare regurgitate the method it in some other format to the general public because it’s so easily misinterpreted, misunderstood, and used with the wrong intentions. You have to be shown what to do across various situations to finally start getting it. You have to live through it through the eyes of a trained person.
9 ~ Because I don’t have to give the training away. My free time is too scarce to regurgitate all of my training. Training was too time consuming to regurgitate for free! I’m trying to put something unique and what I feel is equally necessary into the world that hasn’t already been shared yet (or if it has, I haven’t found it). If you want to know what I know, you are just as free as the rest of us go get AMI Montessori trained yourself. Here’s how: https://ami-global.org/training.
10 ~ I’m passionate about babies from 0-3, and used to work in a nido, but I don’t right now. I learned so much from the guide I used to work under, and from the time I co-taught with an untrained person who tried to run a nido. Instead of regurgitating the training, I get to help parents and educators by sharing all the tips I gained while previously working in a nido.
11 ~ Why regurgitate the training when I can reflect? Blogs are a wonderful location-and-time-independent format of “reflecting”. The AMI training is a beautiful, well-thought out, refined, success-supportive piece to all of this. But the AMI can’t tell every guide on earth how to toilet your 14 children of the moment with your assistants and your classroom’s layout. That part is for each of us to independently figure out. Hopefully that’s where helpful tips-meets- community comes in.
This blog is a place where I’m independently doing my own work to share supportive ideas and resources with parents and other Montessori guides that I have gained a lot of which comes from my work failures and accidental successes. My ideas, experiences, and opinions may not always reflect or hail directly from my formal employer, AMI, my trainer, or my training center. And I wanted a place to let my experiences, thoughts, and ideas from my Montessori reality beyond training help others; and where I can document my own process as an educator for my own continued reflection.
12 ~ Another huge factor that matters to me is informing the general public about the authenticity of Montessori practices; which is a controversial subject matter within the field of Montessori education. A lot of people have never heard of “AMI” or even “Montessori” at all. Let it be known here and now that there has been diversion from Maria Montessori’s original methods over the past 100 years. There are a lot of websites and people out there who either aren’t trained for the age level at which they are trying to offer advice, or who aren’t trained at all and somehow run entire schools or lead classrooms every day, charging parents a ton of money for “Montessori” school. We call this “Montes-sorta” or “Montes-something” jokingly, but it’s a serious problem to me that parents are getting false-advertised to, that their children are missing out on an authentic Montessori experience, and that parents don’t realize they aren’t actually getting what they think they’re paying for. I feel like not regurgitating training is going to protect the authenticity of the true information.
… and that’s why I don’t just regurgitate the training in yet another Montessori blog. (: