For the last 6 months, B and M have been attending the Federal Hill Montessori School here in Baltimore. Their guide, Man Fai, and I did our AMI 0-3 training together at The Montessori Institute. The amount of work we had to do in order to graduate was extremely intense (the six albums I created during my training totaled almost 2000 pages). It’s a life-changing experience that creates a tight bond between all the participants. Knowing the kind of rigorous training Man Fai went through, I knew my children were in good hands.
B and M attend school Monday through Friday, from 830-1130am. For me, the schedule is just right. Three hours per day is the perfect amount of time to spend outside of the home at their age – they started at 20 months – and 5 days a week gives them enough consistency. One thing particularly appealing about the school for our family is that it is a bilingual school, where the guide speaks English and the assistant speaks Mandarin.
We will be leaving Baltimore at the end of this month. Looking back, I feel Man Fai was an excellent guide for my children. Even though I’m trained, I can still get lazy at home. For example, I never taught them how to use mats while doing work on the floor. Well, one day, M took out a floor mat, unrolled it, worked on it, rolled it back up by herself and then put it away. Whoa! Things like that don’t just happen by accident. I know she was taught well at school.
They also do activities at school that I haven’t thought of or haven’t created for our home environment. For example, one night last month, M ate dinner at the record speed of 3 minutes. She then spent the next 20 minutes scrubbing down the table and chairs with a scouring sponge. From the way she was scrubbing the sides of the table, I knew Man Fai had shown her the table-washing activity, something I haven’t put together at home.
Also, a couple weeks ago, Man Fai sent me this picture of Brooke’s rubber band art creation. As Man Fai wrote, “The board was clear when she got it, and this is the way it was when she walked away.” I love the parent communication I get from this school.
In case you’re looking for a Montessori school for your child, look first to see if there is an AMI-certified school in your area. You can do a search here: http://www.amiusa.org/school-locator-2/ If there isn’t an AMI-certified school, ask if the guide (there are no ‘teachers’ in a Montessori classroom, only ‘guides’ – a job title that says it all) is AMI-trained. AMI training is the most rigorous and comprehensive Montessori training available, started by Maria Montessori herself. Start there and you can always shoot me an email if you have any other questions regarding Montessori schools for your child. If you live in the Baltimore area, I definitely recommend Man Fai’s school.
Thank you, Man Fai, for a great six months. We are going to miss you and your school very much!