Becoming a Montessori parent took place when you enrolled your child in a Montessori program. That in itself is a challenge. Most of us weren't raised in a Montessori school. The whole concept is foreign and takes a bit of courage to step out of the norm and our comfort zone. We may have chosen the program because it wasn't like our school experience (which is why we chose it.) Or we chose it because we saw something unique in a Montessori child we knew. Or we were just plain lucky and stumbled on to a Montessori school and were fascinated by what we saw. Even then we had to deal with the question, "If this is so great, why isn't the whole world lined up outside the door to enroll?" (Which is the same question Montessorians keep wondering too!) But you made a complex and challenging decision to become a Montessori parent. And here you are.
So how do you get the best out of your decision? According to Edward Fellow, you begin to understand the core philosophy of what Montessori is all about. Fortunately, you don't have to become a Montessori teacher to be a good Montessori parent. (You don't have to know how to manipulate all of those materials and you don't have to keep twenty plus children from running around the room.)
The most significant Montessori concept is to respect the child. I can almost hear the wheels turning "Of course I respect my child, I love them very much that's why I have them in Montessori, I want the best for them." Of course you love them - but respect is different. Respecting the child is first, to respect the nature of children. Children are not mini adults waiting to be molded. They are like tadpoles and caterpillars that have their own form and function of life waiting to become what they are intended to be. We are often impatient for them to become because we don't realize that childhood - with its curiosity, playfulness, messiness and all - is part of the process of them transforming themselves into the adults they will become. We have to respect that process - which doesn't mean they always get to do what they want. One of the operative words in Dr. Montessori's writing is the word "train". We do need to train our children but we need to train ourselves "not to destroy that which is good" in the nature of our children. The second part of respect is to respect the personality of your child. Your child is not a blank slate. They are already imbued with the unique characteristics of who they are.
So becoming a Montessori parent is a thing. It is something that most of us don’t think about labeling but we should. It’s not always as intuitive as one would think but requires us to be conscious. It means to be their champion, model grace and courtesy, humility and independence. Most importantly, give them a gift of time, to make transitions and accomplish their goals to discover themselves as they navigate through their endless educational journey we call life.