Tomorrow's the end of Soren's second week back at school. He seems to be enjoying himself so far. He's brought home a book from the classroom's lending library almost every day. If prodded, he's full of stories about the various lessons he's been getting. (At the Montessori school they're first given "lessons" on the various types of "work," sometimes as a group but usually one-on-one with a teacher. After they've been shown how to do the "work" they're free to do it on their own as they please. I'm not using quotes out of sarcasm; those are the specific terms they use to talk about what the kids do in the classroom.)
No big surprise, he's been doing lots of typical Montessori stuff. They're really big on their specialized toys and tools and such, which frankly seems a little silly sometimes, but whatever works. There are a lot of practical skills lessons taught as well. Last week Soren proudly informed me he'd had a lesson on watering the classroom plants, and now he knows to look for colored sticks in the pots to see which ones need watering on any given day. He was also excited about washing tables and pouring/scooping oats. The kids are allowed to go to the snack table when they're hungry; there's one special "everybody eats together" snack time per week, but the rest of the time it's up to them if/when to eat. Soren tells me how he takes one serving of snack, then uses the "crumber" to clean up after himself, then hangs the "crumber" back up on the wall.
Every day this week he's been super jazzed about getting to play The Sound Game. Today he came home saying he'd gotten to play The Sound Game using the sandpaper letters. Yesterday he worked with the Movable Alphabet set, which had him rather flummoxed ("I used the mobile alphabet, Mommy, except the letters were in another language, called Cursive!"). Today was, I think, the first time he's gotten to save work overnight. If they're working on something (in this case, lining counting blocks up on a rug on the floor to count to 100), and they don't finish by the time the school day is over, they're allowed to put their name tag on the rug and leave their work out overnight to continue the next morning.
It's kind of hard sometimes to talk about "the Montessori way" without sounding like a total pompous jerk, but I really do appreciate how much credit the kids are given for what they're capable of. And I don't just mean academically (although that too). They're expected to behave civilly, and they seem to rise to that expectation. I also totally dig that they're given the freedom to find what appeals to them and learn in a way that keeps them engaged and interested.
So, yeah! It's going well so far, and I'm glad. I'm also waiting patiently (read: not patiently at all) for all the responsibility and initiative and cleaning up after oneself to kick in at home. I suspect that holding my breath for that one is ill-advised. ;)