I attended a Montessori parents information night recently which was a great way to meet other parents at my daughter’s school. Even though I have attended with both of my children the school’s Infant and Toddler program over a couple of years and have spoken to parents often when we were there, I didn’t find that I saw the same parents often enough to establish an ongoing friendship support network.
At this Montessori information night I realised that many of the parents felt the same way and were looking at ways to get more involved in the school so they could get to meet more like minded people. Many of the parents said that they felt unsupported or with little support from family and friends. Some said that they found talking to others about Montessori, especially with family members was very difficult. They said their thoughts were often met with criticism or disinterest so they stopped talking about it altogether. I understand this. This is one reason why I started this blog, to connect with other like minded parents and maybe at the same time offer support to others. I have already met so many wonderful, supportive people and I haven’t even been blogging for a full year yet.
So, if you don’t have many family or friends who support you on your journey, what can you do? Find people who do, yes easier said than done. I met with a parent representative at my children’s school last week and she gave me some advice being a new parent in the schools Children’s House (3-6 years). Keep in mind that she is a volunteer and has young children who attend the school, so she has been where I am now. She suggested on a basic level, go to information nights or events run at the school often, head into the school early and spend time nearby to your child’s classroom as often parents will be out there chatting amongst each other before school starts. She also suggested after school pick up, to stick around for an hour because often parents do that as well, especially if you are doing mid day pick ups. Have lunch with your children and the other parents and maybe the children not just the parents will get to know each other as well. So I did all this over only one week and well, it worked. I am not an overly social person, so simply introducing myself to a group of mums who often know each other well doesn’t come easy. I just made sure we were at school a bit earlier each day and stayed around for a bit after school pick up and I ended up seeing the same parents each day, so we all ended up chatting together by the end of the week. So the plan is if my children are happy to stick around, try to do this for a bit each day whilst we have the time. I understand that things can change when my daughter ends up doing full days we wont necessarily have the time to stay after school, so we will do this whilst we have the time. Other suggestions are to volunteer at the school if you have the time.
What can you do if you are not a part of a Montessori school community? I would suggest if there are no playgroups or mother’s groups around, follow Montessori blogs and connect with other parents there. I found this immensely helpful and have slowly started developing an online Montessori community support network. If you don’t know anyone else, then I am here to support you. I am here to answer any questions and offer advice and hopefully be of some help. You are not alone.