Education for Life
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Every spring, a new generation of parents makes big decisions about what to do for the upcoming academic year — is now a good time to move to elementary school, or should we complete the kindergarten year (typically the year a child is five in the Fall when the school year begins) in their Montessori primary classroom?
The good and the challenging thing is, there is no right answer. There is only what works for your family.
This is wonderful, because it means you only have to do what works best for your family. There are so many variables, and the precise reason a decision is the right one for one family, might be all the reasons why it’s not right for yours. If you needed a permission slip to do exactly what’s right for your family, here it is.
This is also challenging, because decision fatigue is real, none of us knows the future, and we want to do what is Right, not simply what works for our family. Even the most independent among us sometimes wants advice, guidance, or even to explicitly be told what to do.
So, here’s another free pass: do not worry about The Kindergarten Decision. Maybe it will be a Maya Angelou moment, where mistakes happen, but “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maybe we’ll look back and reflect that the decision we made was wrong, or misguided, or made without all the information. After all, hindsight is 20/20, and the worst thing we can do is Monday Morning Quarterback ourselves.
So let’s agree not to. We will make the best decisions we can, and then move forward. Whether the decision you make about Kindergarten is the best, the worst, or just another choice on the Parenting Road, it’s not a make-or-break one.
You see, while so much early childhood education and preschool experience is geared toward getting ready for Kindergarten, children in a Montessori classroom are not preparing for Kindergarten, they are preparing for life. This is education for life.
“We will make the best decisions we can, and then move forward.”
Montessori is based on individualized education. This means we’re not moving on because my curriculum guide says so, or because it’s the end of the week, we’re moving on because you’re ready. Whether you master a material in a day or a week or a month, we’ll move forward when you’re ready, never holding you back or rushing you forward.
These years are incredible. They are foundational. Everything that comes later will build on what is being formed now.
From learning to walk to maybe a career as an olympian. From learning to talk to daily conversations. From learning to count to algebra, trigonometry, calculations to send shuttles to planets we have not yet discovered. Everything builds on what is established in these earliest years. Success is not graded, there is no finish line. We’re not just getting ready for the next step: we’re getting ready for everything.
Written by:Charlotte Snyder