I’ve come to a realization. There’s nothing wrong with growth.
When I started in the Montessori world, I was an Assistant in a Toddler room. I adore the Toddler age! There is certainly a reason why children are called “sponges” in this phase. A concept needs one or two exposures, and the child has gained that understanding for life. It’s also a very challenging age to work with. You must be repetitive, consistent, and quick on your feet. You must show most of your teaching, instead of explaining it. You must be able to let temper-tantrums go, as they are a healthy part of the growth process.
I am not that person.
For 8 years, I’ve worked with the Casa / Early Childhood aged child. This is where the amazing human nature blooms. Ideas are easily planted and acquired, and through exploration are reinforced. The true innate personality of the child begins to open. Here we see the child who likes to learn while playing with concepts that are familiar, and starting to branch towards unfamiliar. Working in this age range requires a moderate amount of repetition, forgiveness for out-bursts, a love of flexibility with a respect for consistency, and have well-practiced grace and courtesy.
I am less this person than I thought I was.
And that’s O.K.
I’m doing the Montessori Elementary Course for a reason. The attractiveness of the lessons is certainly a driving factor for me. I am over the moon with the Scientific nature of the Montessori Elementary curriculum. However, this is not the only reason I’m so drawn towards the Elementary age group.
In the Elementary age group, children have a better balance of self, play, and work. Less repetition is required, patience takes on a different meaning with blossoming personalities and maturities, concentration can last much longer, the children take themselves less seriously, and humor begins to present itself.
I can be a boisterous person. I use humor in many conversations. I love doing interest-based lessons on the fly. I use language as an exploration of expression, as children this age are learning to do. I love learning about new and foreign concepts much as the Elementary student does.
I don’t think I was ever a “bad fit” in the Toddler or Casa classrooms. I feel I adapted quite well, and knew forwards and backwards the appropriate demeanor required for each age. I do however think I have reached an age in my life where I want to fit in as I am, not as I should be.
Understanding myself is something I’m learning in the Elementary training program. Of course it’s important to know, but I’m only realizing now that my ideal me and my realistic me are not always equal. I’m learning to be O.K. with this, and trying to use it to my advantage at work and at home.