“we are growing children, not fixing problems”

I read this quote somewhere (if you can source it, let me know!) and loved it so much that without even writing it down, I’ve remembered it and have been repeating it to myself. I love re-framing parenting and education in a way that does not label children and their natural states of being as “problems” to be fixed. Like a plant, they are growing towards adulthood, but they are also perfect in their seedling and sprout condition, exactly where they are supposed to be. We can tend to them and guide them, but we don’t have to consider every little bit of behavior that is not adult-like to be a “problem”.

I’m writing about this because yesterday at work I was told by my mother that M had had two accidents in class. I became upset, not because she had accidents, but because I was worried that she was stressed out about using the potty at school and she might get removed from the class, since I was told she must be potty-trained to be in it. I emailed the teacher, since I’m working again today, to discuss the actual situation and some possible reasons that she didn’t want to use the bathroom at school. My main concern was that she was not getting enough help in the bathroom (Montessori is all about independence) and so she was avoiding going, or that she sensed disapproval from the teachers when she couldn’t get her own pants down or up.

The teacher replied quickly, and told me that they always offer to help children in the bathroom (which is in the classroom itself) but that M refuses help and pushes them out of the door, requesting privacy. They said that when she wants help, she does ask, and if she needs help or has an accident they never express disapproval, because this is a normal part of her development. She told me that M seems happy and engaged in school, and not at all stressed, and that there is absolutely no reason to think she would be moved into another class because “Practical Life Skills” is a part of the Montessori curriculum and potty-training and dressing is a part of the Primary class room curriculum. Finally, she told me NOT to send her in vinyl underwear covers (her old school requested this) because she might take it to mean that she did something wrong. All of the furniture can be easily cleaned.

Can I just express, one more time here, how wonderful it is to have M in a place where they are “growing children, not fixing problems”???

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Categories: education, parenting

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3 Comments »

  1. Sounds like all your concerns were addressed immediately! I’m jealous you have such a great school by you. I think there aren’t any montesorri schools by me. I have a big issue with clothes that call kids trouble, monster, princess, tough, etc. I have been slipping with my language like this and need to get it in check.

  2. I’ve had some anxiety about potty issues because Caroline’s school has a similar policy, but my experience has been that “potty trained” is a pretty big spectrum. She wears underwear everyday, but accidents are part of the learning experience, and I’ve been similarly relieved that her school is not worked up about them. That’s a great quote.

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