I snapped this shot of Oliver in his classroom last week, working away in his own little corner. I was there to document the Chinese New Year party, which was a really cool celebration. But what I was reminded of, and am reminded of time and time again, is how my middle child is thriving in the Montessori environment.
He comes home from school full. The best way to describe it is that he is full of some kind of richness, like his spirit is being nourished. I see some part of this with my other two children, but am most moved by it with Oliver. I think the reason for this is that he is a different learner, and the kind of child who could easily fall through the cracks in a traditional setting.
This observation comes from the deep understanding of who he is as a person, not from observation of him in a traditional setting (which he has never been part of), so it may be wrong. He could have been fine in a regular classroom. But he could also not have been. Who really knows.
What I do know is that he really struggled with reading for awhile, that I was worried about it, that he compared himself to his peers and more directly, to his older brother, for whom reading came early and fast, setting in just before his sixth birthday. For Oliver, an entire school year passed without evidence that he was making a lot of headway; and yet, his directress, who knows him so very, very well (and sees progress since she has him for 3 years in a row), assured us that it would come, that there was another window at 7 years that was a reading-sensitive time (and a reason many Waldorf schools don’t even start reading until that age). Sure enough, Oliver is reading fluidly, out loud, and really enjoying it.
It’s so wonderful to see your child thriving, whatever the subject or situation. To see him enjoy and seek out learning, to see him inspired and happy, and to feel the contagion of curiosity and knowledge.