The community of Montessori parents at Forest Bluff School is committed to learning and understanding the development of children and young adolescents on an ongoing basis. Throughout the school year we offer morning and evening presentations on the latest research in education practices, brain development and uses of technology, current challenges in contemporary culture, and Montessori philosophy and practices.
The following are all comments of Montessori parents at Forest Bluff School during one of our recent Coffee Discussion gatherings:
“That is what I love about this school! They work with you right from the beginning, helping you to raise your child. I remember Mrs. Tate talking to me for 45 minutes, giving me examples and ideas of how to deal with my two year olds’ tantrums. She gave me so much compassion. She was positive and complementary.”
“Forest Bluff allows you to raise your children the way you want to parent - it would have been impossible to do this in today’s world without the help of the school.”
“Forest Bluff prepares you as a parent to work with your children of different personalities.”
“As parents you grow and learn here. It’s an ongoing learning and a deep appreciation, a revelation about parenting. Because of the support the school gives you, you enroll your child and you enroll yourself!”
It is a humbling experience to hear such remarks of appreciation. Yet, the concept of parents and teachers working closely together to understand each unique child, and childhood itself, comes naturally to teachers at Forest Bluff School. Children are in their care for three years, a complete plane in a child’s development. In addition, they have the full care of each child. Instead of teaching specialists in art, music, athletics or drama, each Montessori teacher is fully trained to guide the child in every area of study and interest.
Maria Montessori was a medical doctor, responsible for the physical and emotional health, as well as the education, of the children in her care in her earliest schools in Rome. If she was to succeed, she knew it was important to develop the closest possible communication with her children’s parents. She realized that only in this way, could they best help their children to develop into the healthy, happy and well-educated young adults they were created to become.
From the beginning, and throughout her long life of travel and study of children in all walks of life on five continents, Montessori focused on the fact that each of the four stages of youth builds upon the next. For this reason, a strong foundation for a successful future required close communication between parents and teachers from the start of a child’s life. This is why we encourage parents to attend our Montessori From the Start programs even before children are enrolled in our first class at approximately 18 months old.
Thus, from the beginning of their children’s lives, Forest Bluff School parents have help in understanding their children’s unique interests and personalities. They learn what to do to help them in building independence, language, coordinated movement, focus and concentration, development of the will and self - control, and how to live in a community of others.
As children enter each successive classroom level at Forest Bluff School from ages three to fourteen years old, the bonds between parents and children, and parents with other parents, are strengthened through Continuing Education Events and Book Discussion Groups. Forest Bluff parents host Morning and Evening Coffees of approximately twenty parents each in their homes every fall, winter and spring. The Head, or Head Emerita, of Forest Bluff School gives a brief presentation at each one, followed by parent participation in the discussion that follows.
In addition to covering the stages of children’s formation, and how traditional Montessori education meets the goals of a personalized education for each unique child, pertinent contemporary topics are addressed at these events. For example, subjects relating to every day life at home and at school are discussed: questions of technology use by children; reading and homework; scheduling of outside interests and sports activities; sleep and nutrition needs; and contributing to family life and responsibilities.
Above all, the concept of working together as Montessori parents and teachers at Forest Bluff School is centered on the children themselves, and their development into the best human beings they are capable of becoming. The extraneous agendas of adults are subordinated to the important role of parenthood. The result is a true community of support, serving the human spirit and dignity of each child at Forest Bluff School. The goal of traditional Montessori education as an “aid to life” is successfully met and the children thrive. As one parent mentioned at the end of a Coffee Discussion, “Every time I come to a Coffee or Lecture, I get just what I needed to hear. There is meaning behind everything here!”