Derek Shanahan

Momma Montessori

//hear

My parents put me into a Montessori school right off the bat.

I’m pretty sure they couldn’t afford it, honestly, but both of my parents came from backgrounds that emphasized education. College was a must. Intellect was a stated goal when raising children.

When we transplanted to Chicago and out of the “East Coast System” I think that paying for Montessori was partly a selfish parental attempt to prove they weren’t the ones with the dumb country kids amongst a litany of thirty-odd brilliant ivy-league-destined cousins.

The truth though?

It was mostly a belief in a non-traditional way of developing young minds. In 1986, no less.

It shaped me.

Learning to learn in the way that Montessori teaches you to learn had a profound influence on the way my mind works.

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I remember learning French before I could read.

I remember my teacher pulling me aside one day and saying it was time to see if I was ready to read a chapter book.

A CHAPTER BOOK.

I was the first in class to do this (or my 7 year old self I thought I was)…and I remember being proud. Even prouder when we were done and she bursted out with “you just read a chapter book!”

We took care of animals and learned math with our hands and had to clean up after lunch and snack time. Our days were spent solving puzzles and moving on to harder puzzles at the pace that made sense for each of us.

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Montessori people can be spotted.

Their minds explore…and they have a refreshingly calm sense of the way their own mind works.

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Mom began teaching. At the Montessori school they sent me to. The one I don’t think they could afford.

Momma dove into educating children The Montessori Way because she was a true believer.  She was setting little humans up to be great humans. She was also making it more affordable to give her son and two daughters the Montessori experience.

She’d have done road construction to make that kind of thing happen for us three.

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Momma’s a child-whisperer. Momma turns kids into Rocket Ships of Goodness.

Today she runs the school that started me down my intellectual path. Down my emotional path.

Down the path that made me who I am today.

For two decades she’s given the gift I sit here and appreciate in a deeper way than I could ever articulate to thousands of children.

I know she doesn’t think her heart has room for anyone else when she thinks about me and my two sisters, but she’s wrong.

Her legend is in her capacity to deeply care about every single child that she has ever set eyes on, ever.

Her legend is how she makes her children the luckiest people in the world.

Our mother has the biggest heart.

We win.

My mother should raise the planet, from where I’m standing.

//

Tell me something about your mom?

 

5 comments
jenniferalaine
jenniferalaine

The best thing my mom ever taught me was how to be friends with people in the best way and that sometimes friends serve a specific purpose and they might need you more than you need them, but it's okay because you love them and it will all come back around. My mom has friends that she's known longer than I've been alive that she still keeps in touch with and that takes some serious commitment and dedication to an individual and I think that's amazing.

 

And your mom sounds amazing too, D :)

Doniree
Doniree

My mom has worked in daycare for almost 25 years, and she started so that she could work in the (private) pre-school/kindergarten that my sister and I were attending. She still works in daycare, with babies and has also earned "The Baby Whisperer" nickname. My niece is almost 1 year old and is in my mom's "room" at the daycare right now. Full circle. Moms are awesome.

BelleRenee
BelleRenee

My mom actually did do road construction while I was in Montessori school.

dshanahan
dshanahan moderator

 @DonireeWalker That is so similar to my mom! Haha. It's awesome knowing the great ones are in there making little people great.