When I got pregnant, I started researching different approaches to raising children. I wanted to prepare myself as I always do - find the most valuable sources and read the most valuable information. And when I started searching, I got overwhelmed pretty quickly…
Do you know that if you type “parenting“ in the search bar of Amazon Kindle, you get more than 20,000 results? Can you imagine how much information this is? Well, I couldn’t until I started reading. I got too much data in my head for a pretty short time and I panicked. Surprise! A first time mom is on the verge of freaking out :) Is this a familiar picture?
So, I gave myself a break. A few days away from everything kid-related. I just spent as much time as possible doing other adult activities like refreshing my closet, picking and cooking delicious recipes and spending time outside. The dog really had a blast and so did I. After that, I structured an imaginary plan of knowledge I need to acquire. I included only the most basic things first and decided to go from there.
A few weeks later, I was confident enough to know what to expect from childbirth, basic baby care, theoretical knowledge about the baby’s behavior in the first few years and the different things I can introduce to my daily life to benefit my kid’s development and skills. This became my favorite subject.
Different Methods, Comparable Results
I read a whole bunch of articles and books about different methods to raise a child and encourage their abilities. Some of the theories I read about, sounded too controversial for me or they didn’t feel like something I would do. I don’t accept anything in my life blindly. I don’t like extreme decisions or practices and rarely make such decisions in my everyday life. That’s why I chose 3 educational approaches I found common things in and whose philosophy I liked: Waldorf, Montessori, and Doman.
Here is a very brief explanation of each of them:
In the core of Waldorf education (also called Steiner education) is the idea that children’s education is best achieved through games, crafting and practical activities. In this education method you:
- Start the training from yourself as education is a two-sided process.
- Understand and accept that it’s in the kid’s nature to be active, direct, communicative and curious.
- Do not overwhelm them.
- Create an environment that helps your little one to learn.
- Do not suppress their will to be active and self-initiative.
- Teach them hard work.
- Spend enough time on their physical development.
- Educate in discrete, playful ways and with a personal example.
- Spend time drawing, singing, dancing, clay (or play dough) modeling, etc.
- Spend as a lot of time in nature.
Dr. Maria Montessori herself says her education is achieved “with the help of life” and its motto is: “Help me to help myself”. Her approach simulates the kid to develop by themselves, at their own pace and to find and solve their own problems.
Children are usually educated in a specially designed room, filled with age-appropriate activities. Each kid chooses what to play with and how long to do it. Education is usually done between kids of different ages, from one kid to another. In this way, the little ones learn from the bigger ones and the bigger ones practice their knowledge. This makes it easy to implement the Montessori method in the environment or homeschooling of siblings in close ages.
Here are some of the basic rules to follow if you want to educate your little one Montessori style:
- Do not distract your kid from their independent play.
- Never think or talk anything bad about the child, even when they're not around.
- Always be there to help the kid, if they ask for it.
- Always answer the questions they ask you.
- Respect the child who made a mistake so they can fix it by themselves.
- Never force a kid to do anything.
- If they can do it, don’t do it for them.
This is the most controversial of all the educational approaches I liked. It’s based on the assumption that a genius sleeps in every child and you can wake him up through education since birth. It focuses on the development of sight and physical abilities of the kids. A key activity of the Doman educational system is to quickly show your little one a card (in a specific size, with pictures and words, on different subjects), and say clearly what’s on the card.
The methodology claims amazing results. If you start at birth, by 2 years of age, your kid would:
- Count to 100
- Make incredible gymnastic exercises in the earliest age
- Talk in a few foreign languages
- Play a few different music instruments
- Significantly outperform their peers
Doman’s method is built on the child’s natural desire to move and discover the world. This is stated as main reason for the kids to achieve such results.
I find Dorman’s methodology a bit extreme and a bit out of my idea of raising children. I mean, they have to have time to be kids, right? But I liked the flashing cards idea. It could easily become a game to play between your child and you. If laminated, you can even allow closer exploration :D
In my daily existence, as I am the one around my son during most of his awake time, I try to find different ways to implement ideas from these three methodologies. I don’t limit myself (and my little one) to only one specific way to explore the world, to learn and develop as a person.
Every single one of our babies is different even during our pregnancies. I am sure that moms of more than one kid can confirm that. We accept that during their innocent baby years there is no default recipe for solving the sleeping issues, the feeding issues or the potty training issues, but after they get in the school system, they should all absorb knowledge in only one way.
I don’t deny the public school system, of course. But as a parent, I want the best for my child. And I decided to aim to teach him every day, through play. I started gathering ideas from these three approaches and I hope to share some ideas with you soon.
Do you have a favorite child educational methodology? Do you use any of the above? Let me know in the comments below!