The education of even a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.
— Maria Montessori
Preparing a child for life is an immense responsibility, and one parents and dedicated educators do not take lightly. Throughout my tenure in education, I have witnessed the pendulum swing several times. Long are the days of merely just preparing students to be successful in the next grade level. Thankfully, education has shifted its focus to developing students as critical thinkers, problem solvers, and life-long learners.
And so how can we, parents and teachers alike, begin to foster these qualities in children? No child is too young or old to benefit from one of the greatest, and most effective, resources available – children’s literature. At our Montessori school, teachers engage the minds of our children through high-quality texts. We invite children to partake in authentic conversations that require them to “think” beyond the surface and words on the pages. They are encouraged to share their insights, thoughts, and feelings about characters, storylines, and themes encountered in stories whether they are read aloud or independently. These practices also promote emotional intelligence by reinforcing social skills instruction, positive communication, empathy, and grace and courtesy.
Thank you, Maria Montessori for this poignant reminder. Preparing our children for life should be at the core of all we do in education.