If you are not already familiar with the Montessori Method (and even if you are), you may be wondering why we have chosen it for nido.
The truth is, we believe in it, and there is research to back up that belief.
In a Montessori classroom, the teacher does not drill the student on the alphabet or times tables. Yet, the children still learn to read and do multiplication. The children aren't forced to share, yet a Montessori classroom is peaceful and respectful. And most importantly, they aren't forced to do any work in particular, yet in any Montessori classroom, you will see children choosing to engage with and focus on hard work and see it through to its completion.
This is all because the Montessori Method fosters internal motivation. Children aren't persuaded with rewards and praise, but instead are expected to pursue work for the sheer sake of doing work. And it turns out that when individuals are given the space to work from that place of intrinsic drive, they thrive.
Here are some of the things you may see develop in your child during his/her participation in nido (all quotes are from Dr. maria montessori):
- An "I can do it" attitude. At nido, all children are given the time and space to express and develop their capabilities. This includes putting on and taking off shoes and outerwear, going to the bathroom, preparing and cleaning up snack, and any other necessary task.
"Never help a child with a task at which (s)he feels (s)he can succeed."
- A propensity to observe and process the environment around them. Children at nido are encouraged to touch, taste, smell, see, and hear in order to experience their world. All information is transmitted through concrete activities using as many of the senses as possible.
"We cannot create observers by saying 'observe', but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses."
- Independent drive. You will notice that your child begins to engage themselves in productive activity independently of you. While your child will always crave interaction with you, he or she may require less input in structuring play.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.'"
- Increased focus and patience. Your child will learn math and reading when the time is right, but before that, he or she must develop the ability to focus on one work and see it through to its completion. At nido, we work on developing the will so that the child can complete his or her chosen work. This is a skill that will be useful no matter what work the child applies it to in the future.
"If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man's future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual's total development lags behind?"
- Respect for others. In a Montessori classroom, Grace and Courtesy lessons are taught every day. These are lessons that show children how to respect one another's work, space, and boundaries. We demonstrate speaking in kind and considerate tones and asking politely for help. Children learn that harsh words and angry voices can hurt.
"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war."
Here are additional resources that you may find helpful:
Montessori Learning Outcomes, from White Bear Montessori School
Research on Montessori and Student Outcomes, from the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector
Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals, by Angela Duckworth and Christopher Peterson
Grit Trumps Talent and IQ: a Story Every Parent (and Educator) Should Read, from National Geographic