A recent article on Kidspot gave the author a platform to share “7 Weird Things My Kid Does at Montessori Kindy”. The tone of the piece is a little confusing…and the title is definitely provocative (perhaps a very clever piece of clickbait!) The social media reactions of many Montessori educators and parents suggest that they are interpreting the article as mocking complaints about silly practices…yet the author’s child has been in Montessori for two years so presumably she is a fan of the approach. I can therefore only assume that the article is meant to be ‘tongue-in-cheek’; a harmless bit of fun-poking, the way you would gently and lovingly tease your best friend for their cute quirks. The trouble is, it perhaps doesn’t completely succeed in communicating the ‘harmless’, ‘gentle’ or ‘loving’ parts and, as a result, many of the commenters are taking it literally as a very straight-faced criticism of Montessori. I don’t think the author herself genuinely misunderstands Montessori (I think she just has a good sense of humour!) but I do believe that her article is (however unintentionally) reinforcing many misconceptions about it for her readers.
1. They assume that hand-shakes are automatically ‘business like’.
2. They assume that wearing a plastic bag filled with your own faeces would somehow be more ‘comfortable’ than learning to use the toilet.
3. They think there’s something strange about letting children experience freedom of movement.
4. They automatically think of cleaning as a ‘chore’.
5. They think that a child’s community should be completely separate from the adult’s community.