Moving Montessori Pre-Schoolers Across the Country
September 20, 2011
September 20, 2011
Last month, my husband and I executed an unplanned cross country move from Arizona to Illinois with our two children, ages 3 and 5. Each of our kids began Montessori school at 14 months in Arizona. Over the last few years, it has been a pleasure to watch each of them embrace the Montessori philosophy and incorporate it into the fabric of their person.
When we made the move, one of my first priorities was to find a Montessori preschool that was as much like their old preschool as possible. I knew that many other things in their life would change – new house, new friends, new teachers, new climate (SNOW!), etc. I wanted to make sure that when they walked into the classroom on the first day of school, there was a strong thread of commonality. The pink tower and the blue and red rods are same work across the country, and internationally as well.
I enrolled both kids in Mansio Mens Montessori sight-unseen, from Arizona, weeks before school started. It was a leap of faith on my part, but when I read the long list of teacher’s backgrounds on their website, each with decades of Montessori experience, I was sold. You see, being a good Montessori teacher is a gift and people that have this gift are not always easy to find. The Montessori setting and prepared environment are the same in the vast majority of Montessori classrooms, but the teacher makes those materials come to life for the child. Watching a good teacher introduce a new work to a child is sometimes like watching magic. One doesn’t do this for a decades unless they enjoy it and have the gift.
In Montessori fashion, I tried to help them be a part of as many elements of the move as I could. We studied maps and I let them pack their toys in color coded tubs and their own clothes according to season. They were well aware of what was being packed and what was given away. We talked about basements, seasons, new plants and animals, and new friends.
Moving was stressful, but by the end of the first week of school, it seemed as though the kids emotionally took a very deep breath and slowly exhaled the stress. My son’s only complaint was that I was picking him up ‘too early’. They are comfortable, they understand their responsibilities, their role in the environment and they knew they are ‘home’ in the classroom.