Recently, I asked my oldest son Brian (age 15) what goals or values he thought that my husband and I were emphasizing for him and his brother. He thought for a moment and responded, "well first, to be happy." Having no preconceived thought in mind, I was surprised and then gratified that being happy or fulfilled, is a value my children are hearing. Isn't happiness something we all wish for our children?
But, happiness is not given to you. So, how can we guide our children towards happiness? It's a thought we all have as parents, isn't it? We want to ensure that the experiences, tools and skills that our children accumulate throughout childhood leads them towards happiness in their adult lives. But how can we be sure?
While certainly there are no guarantees in life, Montessori parents can feel confident knowing that the principles of Montessori education not only prepare children academically, they also help prepare children for long-term success in their lives. A recent article by Greg McDonald in the Public School Montessorian newspaper discusses this thought. He notes, "Parents of Montessori children provide consistent reports as those children grow up and begin lives of their own. They tend to use two words, no matter where in the United States or world you happen to meet them. How do they describe their grown children? They tell us that these Montessori graduates are happy and successful."
McDonald goes on further to note that the ways Montessori schools operate - with prepared classrooms, teachers as guides, and enforcing Maria Montessori's principle of "following the child" gives children a unique advantage. These children learn through their Montessori education that goal setting, persistency in work, problem solving skills, independence and decision making, and continually using your imagination can help you navigate not just school and academic settings, but also life. It is these skills that lead children towards happiness and fulfillment in their adult lives - and if one comes right down to it, isn't that what makes one successful?
I encourage you to read Greg's article at http://www.jola-montessori.com/psm/86/articles/macdonald.html