When my oldest was a wee one, I began to research where I wanted to send her for preschool. I was at home with her, and her newborn baby sister. We did lots of things together- she was very bright and loved to learn new things, but I was concerned I didn’t know enough to keep her little brain stimulated all day. I had worked with children teaching for many years before having my own, but once you have kids, you second guessevery decision, every second of the day, am I right?
I started calling the preschools in the area, just to check things out. There were quite a few close by- many of them already had waiting lists, and I unfortunately didn’t have many friends who had little ones who I could check in with for advice on what I should do. So I did what I do well- I researched. If there is one thing I’m good at- its research. If someone needs all the information on a subject- I’m the go-to girl. I get lost in there- hours and hours can be spend checking out a particular subject. I know a little bit about ALOT of subjects. But I digress.
As I began my journey to find the very best education for my kids- I found Montessori. I hadn’t really heard of it before then. The more I read- the more I liked what I was seeing. I checked out every website I could find. I read articles. I went to www.amazon.ca and ordered a pile of books on the subject. I went to www.calgarylibrary.ca and found even more. I checked out teacher education programs. I downloaded. I went to visit Montessori schools in Calgary. A lovely friend of our family was actually a Montessori teacher at a school here- so she was gracious and let me come and just observe to get a feel for what Montessori was.
I called the only two Montessori schools that were anywhere near my house, as winters here in YYC tend to suck- and I didn’t want to be driving with two little ones across the city. I was told there was a waiting list, and that I could go on it, but that I really should have began my search months before. WHAT? It was February. My daughter was 2. Did I seriously need to start planning where she was going to go to school when she was born? (No- is the answer to that question- at the time it was difficult to find a Montessori school in the north part of Calgary, but now there are many more schools to choose from.)
So- I began my decision process. I could- send her to another preschool. I could keep her home and not worry about it. I could learn how to teach her myself. I chose number 3. It was a pretty easy choice- I was home anyways- I had no plans at that time to go back to my corporate job after my maternity leave- the time home with them was precious to me, so I was willing to do whatever I had to to ensure I could be there for them. I researched and began taking Montessori teacher training while I stayed home. I opened my home to other little ones and began a day home- spending quiet/nap times reading and working on my training- doing more after my own kids were in bed. I began with an online teacher training program- it was a good program and I learned a lot. My only issue with the online programs is that in order to REALLY understand what you are doing, and what the benefits of Montessori are- is to work hands on with the materials. So…after completing the online teaching program- I began to look around for hands on programs here in Calgary. Not a lot of options at the time. But I began summer intensive programs with Western Montessori Teachers College. They truly were intensive- lots of information, lots of late nights studying and working on materials, but a great program. The intensives were held out in Bragg Creek, Alberta- sitting outside eating lunch and having a deer wander by, was pretty great for this city girl. Our first class began at 8 am- our first break was at 10 am. I sat outside on the bench in the trees, and just contemplated quietly…I knew at that moment that I was EXACTLY where I was supposed to be. That Montessori was the key for giving my kids what I wanted for them.