As 2011 draws to a close, it’s great to look back at a year as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing its many marks of growth. When gathering my thoughts to write this blog, I had a snapshot picture come into my mind. In the snapshot I saw a hand marked measuring line. Similar to the one my grandmother has on the inside of her closet door. Each year she marked the height of her children, so she could see how much they had grown.This visual equivalent of growth began to resonate with me and I accepted to solely adopt this view is only the visible result of the unseen process that growth really is. When I think back to a family growth chart there is always a year or so where the measuring line appears the same, having an appearance of no visible growth in height. This is where we might find ourselves thinking, “we haven’t grown”.
The implication of this is a bit sobering. We can grow, appear as though we are not, yet completely be hardened by it if we miss the more profound stages found in the process of growing. To recognize growth there has to be a shift in our perspective. Although I think we could all agree to view growth only by one measure, that is by size or quantity, is hardly accurate. Fortunately Montessori Tides and passionates recognize growth can be marked in many different ways. When we recount the 2011 year we mark growth in the children, in the school, and in the community.
Marking growth through the lens of Maria Montessori encompasses the whole being of the child: physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. To record this growth in the child it takes great patients, observation, and an ever-present watching eye. (Keep in mind, a descriptive process that brings an empowering transformation.) Unlike conventional schooling where a teacher is confident in their trust in a curriculum and uses the above measuring line to determine whether appropriate growth has transpired in the allotted time, a Montessori Tides teacher is confident in the child and trusts the child will learn because they are capable. She uses her daily records to help align her with each child’s stage of development and allows the individual child’s process of growing to be her guide. In other words, the growth that has taken place in the child becomes visible and stems from an intimate relationship between a Montessori teacher and student.
Because of my recent experience, sitting in the walls of each classroom throughout 2011, I search my heart and mark the whole. The visible growth I’ve seen in the child is confidence. Children have gained confidence to solve problems, grow and develop at their own pace, be respected and give respect, work together, communicate, trust their inner drive, move, and to be independent. All which lay a healthy foundation for a lifetime of advancement in all areas of life, including but not limited to just academic achievement.
In closing, I leave you with a question. Have you ever thought about the confidence needed in a butterfly in order to break through its cocoon and see his wings for the first time? I have, and I bet you won’t find a height like this on any growth chart!
Look ahead for our next piece: Growth in the school.