As a Montessori lead teacher of primary students (age 3-5 years) for over ten years now, I am well versed in the many benefits of a Montessori education. Once I had a child of my own, my daughter Autumn, I looked forward to watching what the Montessori environment could provide for her in every area of development.
Last year when she was 16 months old, I enrolled her in the Toddler class at Pinewoods Montessori (where I teach). Even with my foundation in Montessori education and philosophy, I was surprised at all my 1 ½ year old learned throughout the school year. One afternoon, the culmination of what she learned was summed up through a game of UNO.
That evening, I went home and dug out my old UNO cards and sat down with my daughter to play. I was amazed as she counted out 7 cards for each of us. Then I remembered that she had learned to count and correspond her numbers 1-10 in the toddler class.
We began to play and I again was amazed at her ability to take turns playing the cards. Then I remembered that she had learned to wait her turn at circle and for an activity in the classroom if another child was using it. Autumn was also able to play the cards according to colors –- she had also learned to identify all her colors in the Toddler class.
My favorite part of the game that evening was when Autumn had her last card and could lay it down to win the game. But she shook her head “no!” I was puzzled. I said, “If you put your card down, you can win.” Autumn got upset and said “No! I want to keep playing!” Aha! I thought. It is all about the enjoyment of the process for her and not the end result. What a perfect example of what Montessori education provides for young children!