Why Family Matters
In Montessori education there are three important roles:
Each role is unique, essential, and interrelated. Like the sides of an equilateral triangle, each role is a distinct and separate part, and yet, each connects directly with every other. Teachers provide the social, public, outside-family, general education; parents provide the individual, private, intimate, specific education. Children are most fully supported when the adults in their lives communicate with each other and trust each other, therefore it is critical that both are responsive to the child.
Parent involvement is essential throughout every child’s education. According to A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement (a report from the National Committee for Citizens in Education by Henderson and Berla, page 160), the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which that student’s family is able to:
- Create a home environment that encourages exploration and learning
- Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
- Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community.
The Parent’s Role
The Montessori approach to education is based on universal principles of human development that are essential to the work of Montessori teachers, and that are essential to parenting practices too. Building home environments that harmonize with your child’s Montessori class will support their education and development. Your task will be to study and understand, to observe your child at home and at school, to deepen your awareness of Montessori tenets, and to collaborate with your child’s teacher in his or her education.
Specific opportunities may include the following:
- Parent lectures
- Parent-teacher conferences
- Open houses
- Classroom observations
- Read Maria Montessori’s books
- Teacher guided discussion groups
The family has an amazing power. This is why parents and teachers need to study and reflect, to understand each other’s role, and to help one another help the child.