Taking Montessori Back to School

My ever kind and talented Montessori cohort Meghan at Milkweed Montessori asked me the other day how Quentin’s concentration had changed since he started school. And that got me thinking.

Everything has changed since Quentin started school.


He started in September in an all day 3-6 class. He is the youngest, but he holds his own. There was some separation anxiety after the first few days, but he quickly adjusted.
Quentin had been going to a daycare for quite some time, so we knew he was capable of the days. However, we had no idea what we were in store for.
Everyday he comes home with new songs. He’ll just be sitting at the dinner table and out will pop something. Last week he was sitting on the couch with us during our pre-bedtime routine and he started naming off the months of the year. Correctly.
We realized early on in the school year that his little body (and huge brain) were working hard during the day, and that we wanted to be mindful of this.

As Montessorians we have had activities that hold Quentin’s interest on his shelves since he was 9 months old and before that on his movement mat. However we have never had any of the classic Montessori classroom materials here because we knew he would one day go to a Montessori school. It’s important to us that his home not exactly match his classroom, but instead compliment each other. With Quentin going to school however it made us even more aware that when he got home he should be given the opportunity to rest if he chose. And for the first month he did.

For the first month he didn’t touch his shelves. He was only interested in his “opened ended” toys such as his basket of blocks and machines.

The train set also allowed him to sit quietly and concentrate. He also would get out his farm. These toys allowed him to peacefully transition from school to home and just “come down” from the day. We “Followed the Child”. I would put new activities out on his shelves and he would sometimes stop and look but it was usually only for a moment.
We also took advantage of the last of the summer light and got outside in the evening.

That was September and early October. Now in November he has returned to working with his materials on his shelves. He will come and get me and say “Will you please work with me Mamma?” His concentration has slightly increased perhaps, but what has changed is his self confidence. He is definitely no longer a baby. He is a boy who knows what he wants and how to get it. Usually while singing. There has been a surge of “No Mamma, that’s my job.” His eyes piercing, his small voice never faltering.

We dreamed of this. The day when our journey to bring Montessori from the classroom into our home with the birth of our second child, would turn full circle, and see that child take Montessori back to school. And so he does, singing the days of the week in French as he goes.


10 Replies to “Taking Montessori Back to School”

  1. J and Q need to have a playdate xo This is a beautiful post, it inspires me for what is ahead for J next year.

  2. How lovely! I dream of this too but we don’t have any montessori school that meet my very high standards. Maybe when he’s ready there’ll be one.

    1. I felt exactly the same way. I strongly feel people often sling the Montessori name over any old door.
      Be hopeful. Quentin’s wonderful little school opened only last summer, but the Head Directress has made it seem like it has been established for years. We had to compromise on a few things (I prefer uniforms) but all staff are AMI trained and have proven themselves in this short time.

      1. How awesome! I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the same. I’m so glad to hear his transition has been very positive.

  3. This is such a beautiful post, Beth. And thanks for the shout out! : )

    One thing that’s wonderful about Montessori schools is that in a multi-age classroom, being the youngest is really no concern — something that I’m extra aware of because Jasper is a September kid.

    I’m really loving the third year and the transition it brings between inside the home and outside the home (in non-Montessori preschool mornings), but like Irene, your post definitely makes me look forward to next year for Jasper.

  4. I find the same with Sixtine. She has very little interest in trays / activities. She has plenty enough at school and I am completely (happy) fine with that. We do a lot of practical life, a LOT of art, and open ended play (building fort, playing with blocks, playing pretend with her sister etc).

    Would love to hear more about your perspective on uniform.
    Love x

    1. I actually prefer a formal uniform and this was the standard with Anthony’s Montessori school. I feel a formal uniform (with easy to manage waistband for younger kids) helps children be aware of their physical appearance and creates a sense of importance about going to school. Polishing shoes and buttoning shirts was a regular part of Anthony’s Primary day. However, I realize that uniforms are not a favourite for everyone. For us they helped keep clothing costs low (no one knew he was wearing the same pants 2 days in row) and fit with our family values about the clothing our boys are dressed in.

  5. Hello, greetings from India. I just found your blog.
    I myself discovered Montessori when my sons were two and four. Though they did all their schooling in the Montessori Method, I didn’t have the opportunity to give them Montessori at home in their early years. It is a delight to see the work you’ve done with Quentin and I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog.

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