Congratulations, you are the future!
A parent asked yesterday why we choose these particular levels for graduation. Montessori was brilliant in realizing the needs of the different levels of development, in understanding when the changes occurred. Some are shifting from the stage in which they grow through their absorbent minds, having absorbed a mind-boggling array of knowledge over the past 3 years, and they are now ready for greater group learning, ready to use their reading and writing skills for research, ready to develop their moral and social contributions to peace.
It’s important to understand that age has little to do with the timing of this shift. At R&W we are careful not to focus on age, as age labels and comparisons bring so many unhappy limits. For as long as I can remember, when a child asks me my age I have answered 92; and most children readily accept this fact. Children shift at various ages, just as they walk at various ages. It’s important that we don’t compare, we don’t label anyone as “advanced” or “slow”, as these labels create feelings of inferiority or superiority – and neither is healthy.
I have taught a lesson in which I had children run to one end of the gym and back, then ask them when they learned to walk. Some learned at 10 mths, some at 15 mths – but they realized it didn’t matter, because there was no difference later on. Who knows, perhaps the stronger legs take longer to develop! Some of our children shift from the absorbent mind to the next level at around 4, some around 5 and some around 6. It really doesn’t matter, and we need to be careful not to focus on labels that compare and judge.
No matter at what age, shift happens, and our job is to recognize the timing of the change and ensure we provide for it. And of course, no matter at what level, our children are part of our whole R&W family, wrapped in love and blessed by the nurturing of all our caring teachers. We embrace the bittersweet moment that is graduation, and wish all the best to our fabulous Montessori Graduates!
-Kristin Marples Cassie