I visited my son’s future Montessori toddler class as an observer today. When I say “observer,” I mean that literally. I was given a chair in a corner with the unspoken (but obvious) rule that I could sit quietly and watch. Period. After five or ten minutes of all eyes on me, the kids (mostly) ignored me and went about their business.
Wow. You know those speeded up videos with people going about their lives, but faster, and without sound? This class was to a “normal” room of two year old kids like those videos are to real life. They don’t feel real and they’re strikingly quiet.
Don’t get me wrong, the kids weren’t QUIET. They made noise, talked to themselves and each other and the teachers, and had a few disputes. They weren’t loud, though. There was no screeching or crying or bedlam. This is less like a room full of puppies than a room full of… well, little people going about their business.
Sure, they had to be redirected or reminded, helped along or slowed down – they are still little kids – but they had work to do and they did it. If you’re curious, watch videos of Montessori toddlers on YouTube. It’s amazing!
I have a 13.5 month old and I can see how you get there from here, which is the most amazing thing. I can see it! As I was saying to Joey this morning, I think I raise a pretty independent kid, even more than Joey does, but this was a whole new level. A little girl (16 months) spilled water and muttered, “Oops!” Totally typical. BUT THEN she got up, got the mini mop, wiped the floor pretty competently, put the mop back, and wiped the remaining water on the table with a rag, which she then put in the hamper. All by her very own self! Wow. Nobody reminded her or scolded her; when she was finished, she just moved on to the next thing.
If Montessori isn’t your thing and this weirds you out, I get it, but if you’re not sure, go watch a few videos.
Javi needs a nap mat. I’m fighting my Maximizer tendencies to look at every nap mat ever made looking for The Perfectest Nap Mat Ever before collapsing into stressed inactivity from the overload. One kid uses a Wildkins nap mat. I liked the Wildkins nap mat of all the ones the kids use. I am going to order the Wildkins nap mat. I am not going to embark upon a three week ordeal of sewing The Bestest Nap Mat Ever before discovering the Wildkins nap mat would have been better, less work and less expensive. Mark my words. (Ahem.)
Javi needs underwear, too. If this seems strange, think of it less like underwear and more like the cloth diaper version of pull-ups. (This is what I’m telling my husband, too, because he’s weirded out.) According to the teacher, the Gerber kind are the best not despite being the cheapest but because they’re the cheapest. She says the weave of the cotton is a little looser and so they’re easier to put on and take off. I would think that would also lead to more pee leaks down one’s leg, but hey, she’s the expert. Gerber training pants we shall purchase. (Unless I exhaust my fight-against-Maximizer-tendencies on the nap mat and continue my online search for Every Kind of Training Pants Available Anywhere.) And for the record, the Gerber plastic pant cover thingies are louder (crinklier) than the more expensive kind but she doesn’t see why anyone would care about that given you can’t hear crinkles over the sounds of 14 kids no matter how loud the pants (or quiet the kids) are.
Javi needs a kid water bottle, not a sippy cup. At this point there is no way I will be able to just choose one already, so I’ll be googling and comparing and spending far more than a normal person would. I purposely chose this, the least expensive of all the supplies, to blow my money on.
Javi also needs indoor shoes, rain boots, and many socks. I will deal with those after I corral myself into buying the three things above first.
The book I love is “Montessori from the Start, the child at home from birth to age three,” by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen.