“Google it!” In this age of technology we literally have knowledge at our fingertips. Any time we are faced with a quandary it is easy to pick up our phone, tablet, or do a quick keystroke on the computer to find answers to our wildest questions. Sometimes, we fall down a rabbit hole and continue searching random ideas until we look up and hours have passed! But what about the intangibles? What about the things that Google and Wikipedia can’t provide?
Wikipedia can’t show the moment of joy and accomplishment a child experiences when they master a challenging work. Reading an article does not fully prepare you for the pride you experience the first time you see your toddler excuse themselves from a meal, then without word, clear and clean their own dishes. The moment you secretly see your older child pick up a simple book and begin to read to a younger sibling.
There is success in the freedom of choice that children experience in a Montessori environment. Freedom of choice generates interest, fosters independence, and helps to develop self-discipline. Often, the freedom to choose work in the Montessori environment follows the child home. Parents regularly come in to my office to share many stories and events from home. Many parents have laughingly shared how their child has informed them that they are not playing, that they are doing work.
I think one of the most important intangibles however, is what children gain from Grace and Courtesy. Often called “the invisible curriculum,” grace and courtesy sets the stage for success in many areas of our day to day life. It is when we see our child begin to exhibit empathy, compassion, patience, thoughtfulness, and forgiveness that we see the true rewards of Montessori.