Starting last week, Andrea started her Montessori At Home from BCMA. BCMA came up with a brilliant idea (and I chose the word brilliant for a reason and I’ll tell you later why) to “extend” the Montessori approach and literally bring it to the home base. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to someone from the academy (one of the directors who came up with the idea and organized it) and asked a few questions of this strategy and new approach.
How was this going to be different from the online classes that are going on with schools and other academies? How is this going to work with 5, 6, and 7-year-olds and what is the real purpose of doing this? Why not just take a break and close down the academy like other kindergartens?
I am going to keep the person who I talked to anonymous because it may affect them personally.
I know there were mothers that were thinking of the same questions as I was. I also know there were parents who thought of just dropping out since there were only a few months left until graduation. I also know there were people who didn’t even attend (A.K.A. send their kids to BCMA) and thought that it was a bad idea. Lastly, I also knew there were parents who thought it was going to be really difficult having to deal with ANOTHER online class for a child. For those who had two or more children and if one was already doing the elementary school online classes, it would be very difficult to handle the same situation for another. I knew how that would be because Josh was doing online EBS classes already and I already had a lot of stuff to take care of for him.
Okay, so question #1 How was this going to be different from the online classes that are going on with schools and other academies?
There are no videos that children just sit and watch. The content and materials for the activities related to the videos were going to sent via School Buses as “kits” for each age group and child. Individual packets of daily activities, including opening circle, daily activities, culture, English (language), movement, math and even closing circles were going to be done at home with these guideline videos. So in sense, these videos were not “class” videos but actually instructional videos for the children to watch and follow along or do the activities on their own. Basically the academy was providing Montessori homeschooling curriculums/programs and materials/supplies needed for it to be done at home.
This is the timing that I say “brilliant!”
And this is when I asked my second question
How is this going to work with 5, 6, and 7-year-olds and what is the real purpose of doing this?
Well, with the help of an adult, all ages can do their daily tasks and complete each set of materials. All of the materials being made and sent home are organized by age groups, so the supplies and activities may vary and are different. The simple Montessori activities provided are ones the students have done before or are already familiar with. The English Camp materials and tasks are ones teachers had planned on doing but couldn’t do due to the COVID19 social distancing level going up in Seoul. So we decided to make our own videos and have the students follow along. However, these videos are not for the public to view and have access to but provided through embedded links sent directly to the parent or guardian of each student.
What is the real purpose? We really wanted to implement the Montessori approach into each home. As in, we wanted parents to apply the Montessori method of learning and the Montessori mindset to their parenting at home. This was planned a long time ago but we took the social distancing as an opportunity to implement that and help parents out so that they may give their children the opportunity to continue on the Montessori method at home when they come back from the academy. Eventually, we are hoping we can meet and have class at the academy soon, but since that’s was not the case, wanted to take the two or three weeks that the government had announced and see it as good time of transition and educating. We always used to have parent education sessions before COVID19 and since we haven’t been able to do so in the last 7 months, we wanted to take that part of Montessori exposure for parents and the “continuation of Montessori” for the children and figure out a way to hit two birds with one stone. We thought this would be a great opportunity to have parents experience what their children experience at the academy and have them see for themselves how much of a difference the “Montessori Method” makes.
So the purpose of all of this, is to give families a chance to experience Montessori from the beginning of the day to when they wrap up the day.
Why not just take a break and close down the academy like other kindergartens?
We didn’t want to just give them something to do while we were in phase 2.5 of Social Distancing but rather have them more exposed and literally live a daily routine of “Montessori education” on a daily basis. We also wanted to make sure parents could see that for themselves. We wanted them to go through it with the children and experience Montessori together. What better way to do so than doing it at home when we are in a time of social distancing where we HAVE to stay home.
Wow. I had no idea this was this deep. I had no idea this was kind of all meant to be. I just thought the teachers and directors were doing it so that our kids weren’t bored.
Then after week 1. I saw a change in the way Andrea did things around the house. I knew she cleaned up and wrapped up her work at the academy but she was really bad at it at home. She never, and I say this with emphasis, NEVER cleaned up after herself or would want to do something on her own. It was always together with her brother or me. But after the first week of Montessori At Home, she was independently working on her own. She would clean up after herself. She would find things to do on her own rather than asking me what to do next. It was amazing.
And the influence of Andrea on Josh and Tyler was amazing too. Tyler would sit beside her and would want to do what she did. He was doing things on his own and participating in the activities. Josh also wanted to do what Andrea was doing because everything she was doing, he had done too. Everyone was on a daily schedule and everyone was organized. All three children were doing something on their own and they were motivating each other. They were in control of their own daily tasks and they were able to make sure they were having fun while doing it too.
All this without the help of grandma or me!
For me, I got a parents’ manual that stated the things I should say and that I shouldn’t say to my children who were focused on this Montessori at Home. I was given examples of how to create the perfect Montessori environment at home and how to approach each task with Andrea. It was easy to understand and do together.
Kaden used to question me on whether or not we chose the right kindergarten for our children. But when he say this. This really gave Kaden a bold answer. It wasn’t just about going to a Montessori kindergarten but rather about how it was allowing us to understand the needs and wants of our children. About how they really need to grow and what parts of their daily lives and moments they need to be fully respected for as a human being. As a very small human being but respected and understand that they too can be independent individuals that have the capabilities to complete things on their own and learn at the same time.
What more could you expect from any institution your child attends?
And please, don’t offend anyone or the institution, I have nothing to do with them. I am just a parent who sends their child to BCMA.