After reading this article in the New York Times The Littlest Redshirts I was more interested (as usual) in the reader comments that followed online. The social scientist in me loves reading all the varied opinions and "solutions" of our citizens. I had to scroll pretty far down before I found one from a Montessori parent. I appreciated her sense of calm in respect to her child's age at entering school:
I think the cause of the redshirting problem is two-fold:
1. Kindergarten has become way too academic. Kids who are 5 should not be sitting at desks doing worksheets. They should be learning through exploration of the world around them.
2. The rigidity of the traditional public school system is ill suited to meeting children's unique needs because it places them in an artificial age-based box. My 3 year old son, for example, is very academically gifted and is far ahead of his chronological peers intellectually but his emotional and social skills age are at or below his chronological age. Because of that disparity we decided to place him a Montessori school where the class age levels overlap and where multiple ages are in the same classroom. He has really blossomed because he is able to play with children his own age while doing the more challenging work that he is ready to do.
I've found that the parents at his Montessori school aren't stressed about the redshirting problem at all because they know that the school will be able to place their children where they fit best.
Now is the time when surfing the internet can be an inspiration not just a method of procrastination. Summer is a perfect time for us teacher types to search for new ideas and connect with the outside world for a bit while the day to day school world takes a break.
Most of the time I find something and then forget where I saw it. Below is a list of sites I've visited recently while looking for classroom materials. These ideas are really great, and if I had the time I would try them all and relax into a state of creative bliss. Maybe I will be able to make a couple of things before September rolls around...
Some Famous People Who Attended Montessori School as Children: Jeff Bezos, financial analyst, founder, AMAZON.COM. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Cofounders of GOOGLE.COM. Terry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author Julia Child, famous chef, star of many TV cooking shows and author of numerous cookbooks. Katherine Graham, owner/editor of the Washington Post. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, editor, former first lady (John F. Kennedy). Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family. Anne Frank, famous diarist from world war II. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature.
Others with a Montessori Connection: Alexander Graham Bell, noted inventor, provided financial support directly to Dr. Montessori. Helped establish the first Montessori class in Canada and one of the first in the United States. Bruno Bettelheim, noted psychologist/author, was married to a Montessori teacher. Erik Erikson, anthropologist/author. Jean Piaget, noted Swiss psychologist, made his first observations of children in a Montessori school. Alice Waters, restaurateur and writer, is a former Montessori teacher. Thomas Edison, noted scientist and inventor, helped to found a Montessori school. Mister Rogers, children's TV personality, strong supporter of the Montessori method
"Whoever touches the life of the child touches the most sensitive point of a whole, which has roots in the distant past and climbs toward the infinite future." Dr. Maria Montessori