When I first saw this photograph, recently sent to me from one of the children in the photo, I thought that it was a photo of me, around 1984, working in a childcare center. And then I realized it was just my back yard. We are dying Easter eggs. The child, now grown, said that she always remembers doing interesting things at our home. I think I was meant to be a Montessori teacher! I loved cooking with the children, setting out pouring games, and our favorite, the doll’s clothes laundry. Most of the time in Texas, this laundry was set up outside, but on cold days, I would string a washing line up in the den!
Looking back, I realize my first exposure to Montessori was in a friend’s home in England. She never called her home a Montessori home, but I remember how peaceful and calm it was, and how activities were available in baskets on shelves, ready for the children to choose. Anna, my daughter, used a knife to cut up her own snack while we were there. We left England when Anna was two and a half, so she was very young to be using a knife. That is my confirmation that this was indeed a Montessori home. There was the right size knife for Anna to use.
My next exposure was at Arlington Country Day School. I was looking for a preschool for my daughters, Anna, now four and a half, and Elanor, almost three. Once again, it was the sense of peace that really hooked me in. I was close to tears when I realized that this is where I wanted my children to go to school, but also because I had found my passion! I wanted to be a Montessori teacher. Thirty-two years later, I am still passionate about Montessori education. The sense of peace and joy remains an inspiration. I am full of wonder that after so many years children still surprise me with new and unique ways to learn, problem solve and create with the materials.Just look at the variations below!
Here are a few more photos from the eighties! This is Anna, long ago in England, playing pouring games. When I saw the water works in practical life at the first Montessori school I visited, I thought, “Pouring games! my children will love this!”
My one year old son washing dishes at the kitchen sink, while big sis helps!