Is Catholic Montessori Right For You?

A common question parents ask is, “Is Montessori right for my child?” You may be worrying that your child won’t thrive in a Montessori classroom environment, will become lazy in the seemingly less-structured surroundings, or will become bratty and expect everything to be arranged according to his personal liking.

Catholic Montessori as a framework

If you are considering using Catholic Montessori as a framework for your child raising, it’s absolutely critical that you approach it as an entire philosophy, a way of understanding the God-given nature of the child – not simply a pedagogy for little ones, involving fancy hands-on materials to learn academic subjects.  Raising children the Catholic Montessori way relies on three critical components:

  • The Prepared Adult
  • The Prepared Environment
  • The Prepared Child

Of these three, the most foundational component is the Prepared Adult.  Since my focus is primarily on Catholic Montessori child raising, the Prepared Adult is, in fact, the Prepared Parent.  The Prepared Parent is the one who creates the Prepared Environment: both in organizing the physical space of the home and – more importantly – in forming the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional character in the home.  Together, the Prepared Parent and the Prepared Environment lead to more easily aiding the development of the Prepared Child.

Deal with fewer tantrums in 3 days (or less!)

The Million-Dollar Question

So the million-dollar question to ask yourself is: “Am I willing to do what it takes to become the Prepared Adult that I need to become, for the well-being of my child?”

What my husband and I have found over the almost-twenty years of child raising with Catholic Montessori is that this method creates an atmosphere of mutual respect between parent and child.  This mutual respect, in turn, fosters joy and peace in the home.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I honestly willing to change?
  • Am I willing to consider new and different ways of child raising?
  • Am I willing to leave behind potentially harmful habits and attitudes that I may have inherited from the way I myself was raised?
  • Am I willing to learn new ways of speaking to and interacting with my child?
  • Am I willing to give up parental control to better allow my child to learn self-control and self-discipline?
  • Am I willing to grow in patience, enough to persevere through the slower methods of Catholic Montessori child raising for a better, more lasting, and more real result in the end, with self-discipline in my child as the goal?
  • Am I willing to give up the instant gratification that comes when I force my child to do my own will?
  • Am I willing to give up spanking?
  • Am I willing to allow my child to become independent and need me less and less as the years go by?
  • Am I willing to let my child experience natural and logical consequences of his decisions and actions?
  • Am I wanting to draw upon the riches of our Catholic Faith and the Sacraments to assist my child in saving his soul?

Be honest with yourself in deciding
whether it’s right for you.

If you don’t think you’ll invest the time and effort and fully commit to learning how to become the Prepared Parent — into changing yourself — however you try to use Catholic Montessori probably won’t work well. You’ll probably just end up frustrating yourself and your child. If you don’t become the Prepared Parent, you won’t understand how to create the Prepared Environment, and your child won’t have your guidance in becoming the Prepared Chil.

And if you’ve answered yes to a majority of these questions, then Catholic Montessori may be right for you. The decision is yours, but it’s a decision you must fully embrace with resolve and determination.

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