Should I get professional Montessori training?
Question: Would you suggest I receive professional Montessori training experience? I have only completed one e-course from a Montessorian by the name Ashley Hapa (Hapa Family on YouTube) who is a certified Montessori guide for infants and toddlers through the North American Montessori Center, as well as a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator with the Positive Discipline Association.
Julia says: In a perfect world, yes, I would strongly encourage you to undertake a Montessori training program from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). They are the organization founded by Dr. Montessori and they are the holders of all of her historical documents and teachings. I would go to their website and see if there are any offerings that you can access.
If it's not possible for you to undertake an AMI training, you might consider a training offered by CGMS. They have some prepared courses for parents that might be a great starting point for you. They are a good group but they are not as closely tied to the pedagogy as AMI. I would not recommend the North American Montessori Center or most AMS or other programs (some have exceptional trainers but this is not universal). I have mentored teachers who have gone through those programs and they consistently misunderstand some of the basic/essential points of the method.
That said, you are already actively working with your children everyday. So, you need to hit the ground running! It sounds like you are earnest in your efforts so I would continue what you are already doing. Keep reading and researching. If you haven't already, I recommend the following books:
- The London Lectures, by Dr. Montessori
- The Secret of Childhood, by Dr. Montessori
- Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, by Dr. Montessori
- A Path for the Exploration of Any Language, by Muriel Dwyer
- Montessori Homeschooling, by Susan Stephenson
Also, you can watch all the videos on montessoriguide.org (that's a site run by AMI). That will give you an idea of what the classroom experience looks like. You'll note that the interactions among children are a critical part of the learning environment. So, if you are able to participate in a training course, your children would benefit greatly if you could take a few more children (aged 3 to 6) into your homeschool environment.
I'm afraid I'm leaving you feeling quite overwhelmed. Remember that the essential part of the method is to study and follow the child. Scientific observation is the root of everything. So, watch your children to see where their interests lie and where they face challenges. Then, follow their interests and isolate the challenge to break it down into its component parts. Most of all, stay optimistic and have an undying faith in the child and their tremendous human potential for good. Involve them in your activities (which is what they long to do) and invite them into all aspects of family life (especially food preparation and cleaning). I think Susan Stephenson's book will be a big help in that direction.
I hope this helps and encourage you to keep up your efforts on behalf of your children!