Since it has been … necessary to give so much to the child, let us give him a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions…. All things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. The idea helps the mind of the child to become focused, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied having found the universal centre of himself with all things.
– Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential
As I’ve been thinking about this “sweet spot” where Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia meet, I’ve been trying to pull out where exactly those intersectionalities occur. This is, undoubtedly, a partial list, but it’s what I am able to come up with in the noisy lobby of my kids’ arts school.
- The aesthetic. Let’s face it, this is the first thing people tend to notice about all three of these “lifestyles” (if there is such a thing). Natural materials, muted colors, an ethereal glow. Toys are often handmade with love and knowledge of the child and are imbued with meaning. Toys tend are beautiful, open-ended, and multi-purpose.
We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. ~Maria Montessori
This year I have six children in three different schools. The oldest three are all at the local public arts magnet, one as a vocal major in the middle school, one as a vocal major in the high school, and one is a senior (!!!!) cellist in the instrumental department. The two youngest are at a local public charter school that has a strong arts focus. While I am not crazy about charter schools, I also struggled because our local neighborhood school has become progressively more and more focused on state testing and punitive discipline than actual education. I was happy to have the twins out of it, but was worried because Daniel had two more years there.