One of our parents, Donoso S. Escobar, was kind enough to share his thoughts on the "Importance of the Kindergarten" year in Montessori. We would love to now share them with you.
For my five-year-old child, kindergarten at Baan Dek Montessori School has been a journey underpinned by cognitive and academic skills development as well as mental health and emotional development.
The pre-kinder days of my child were days of occasional moments of anxiety when both, my wife and I wished we would not have studied human development theory so intensively during our graduate work. As parents, Julia and I consider the practice of home schooling as socially irresponsible; however, the over protective father within me, questioned: how were we going to entrust our introverted child to a world unknown to her? Of course, the answer came with no hesitation from my wife who said, “precisely, because she needs to be introduced firmly and gently to the beginning of formal education now.”
As the academic year approaches its conclusion, the transformation of our child is evident in three specific areas. Social skills, she has become an assertive and compassionated person who leads by example and is excited about new challenges. Cognitive development, for example, her inquisitiveness about the trail of tears stunned me recently. After our conversation on the trail of tears, she commented: “Papa, the truth is that there are bad White people and good White people; there are good Indians and bad Indians; there are good Black people and bad Black people.” Finally, emotional development is best illustrated by a short family story. Our second child is four years old now and has become her older sister’s best friend; a nice friendship that evolved from “Papa, let’s take little Sister to the Rainforest and leave her with the howler monkeys there.” This was three years ago. Most recently, I overheard Older Sister saying to little Sister, while playing house: “I will protect you always, because I love you so much; I will wipe your tears with a kiss when you cry, you are my sister and I love you.” To which little Sister responded: “May I call you Mama?” We attribute these dramatic changes to the influence of Baan Dek Montessori’s Kindergarten education on the life of our child.
In conclusion, a well-organized and professionally administered Kindergarten program sets the developmental course of a human being in a manner that no parent could match. Largely, this is because of the complementary nature of some roles during human interaction. Family propels children to embrace learning; the Kindergarten event shapes children to be life-long learners.