Making That Montessori Move

Shortly after I gave birth to Mikko Vincenzo aka NoodleLito, we were given a book that introduced us to Montessori's holistic, self-paced, and experiential approach to learning. We were blessed to have been handed down quite a significant number of educational toys to help a child's development, so we actually didn't spend much for NoodleLito in trying to teach him to embrace multi-sensory learning. We even jumped at the opportunity to start him on Your Baby Can Read as early as 3 months old. Looking back, I think this is why he has a penchant for learning and singing songs in different languages. He still enjoys listening to classical music because of Baby Einstein and he has turned out to be a very good reader (and talker!).

Be that as it may, my husband, Michael aka NoodleBoy, and I decided to enroll him at our alma mater. Fast forward to kindergarten, we hit a bump in the road when his neurodevelopmental pediatrician suggested he undergo occupational therapy because he had motor issues mainly with writing and even suspected dyspraxia. But because of early intervention, that greatly helped NoodleLito reach his milestones in a timely fashion. Nonetheless, the good doctor recommended that we pull him out from conventional school and get him on a Montessori program. Alas, we didn't... yet. But we heeded the doctor's advice that one of us needs to be constantly looking after the child and to let go of his Yaya because it was somehow hindering his growth and independence.

Having completed our primary and secondary education from a conventional school, my husband and I thought the same experience would be good for NoodleLito. On the contrary, it wasn't. His focus and concentration became constant challenges and the way his brain was "wired" clearly wasn't meant for the traditional method. He excelled in his little ways on his own but not quite what the norms expected, so he didn't quite "shine". It was then when we realized we are only limiting his potentials by stubbornly continuing to do so. I already feel a bit guilty by encouraging NoodleLito to use his right hand for writing when in fact his dominant hand is really the left one. We feel that he is becoming ambidextrous now. Is that a good thing or is he getting more confused? Will this cross-dominance hurt his brain or boost his brainpower? Who knows? And I digress.

Now even before Covid reared its ugly head, we were already shopping for homeschool providers. We searched high and low and by that, I mean all over the internet, in NoodleLito’s best interest. Months later, what we were looking for was just right in front of us –OrmocHoly Trinity Montessori Academy. I remember sending Teacher Jane a message on Facebook sometime in November 2019 with an inquiry. I was informed that their distance learning program was for special cases only and she explained the home-like setup of the school and the learning approach at length which I was utterly grateful for.

Then 2020 came and hit us like a tidal wave. Homeschool was no longer an option as it became the reality. With all its uncertainties unfolding and the pandemic-related unknown, part of me still felt like everything was also falling into place. We were lucky to be admitted to OHTMA where there is but a limited number of students that can be accepted in a school year. We were probably one of the earliest to be enrolled because the family was truly excited about this new adventure. So excited that we just absolutely ran with it! Get in the program, do all that we can, and give it our 100%! Yes, our family has never felt so alive and so united.

Just a few months in, we saw NoodleLito literally transform in front of our very eyes. Not just because he's grown so much but it's almost like he's spreading his wings for the first time. He started to show his talents more, amazed us with all sorts of trivia and general information that he picked up by himself, and discovered kinesthetic learning to boot! It's like we've begun to unlock his potentials and he is well on his way to "self-regulation". Without so much academic pressure, NoodleLito is much happier, much more willing to explore and crack the books (or in this digital age, surf the web for infinite learning), and we can see his brilliance finally shining through.

Academic Achiever Award, Creative Thinker Award, Word Whiz Award, Punctuality Award, Character Merit Award, Word Smart - Multiple Intelligence Award, Science Month - First Place Young Scientist Award, Scouting Month - Best in Backyard Camping, Scouting Month - Best in Map Reading, English Month - Best in Family Short Story Role Play, English Month - First Place in Poem Writing, Family Christmas Tree Decoration, Christmas Quiz Bee - Second Place, Mathematics Month - Geometric City First Place (Elementary), Mathematics Month - Ipon Challenge Third Place (Middle Elementary), Family of the Year AY 2020-2021

So in conclusion, I may be what one would call a stage mother, a soccer mom, or what have you but honestly, I'm not like that. I'm just here to support our NoodleLito in absolutely any way I can along with his dad and his grandparents. With the help of our dear Trinitarian faculty and following the Montessori approach, I believe that NoodleLito can live a more meaningful life, be more accountable for his actions or take more responsibility, and be able to listen to his feelings more. With this partnership, I believe that together we can bring out the best in NoodleLito. I definitely encourage every family out there to look into this lifestyle, mindset, and upbringing.

Thank you, Ormoc Holy Trinity Montessori Academy, for giving us the honor to be the Family of the Year AY 2020-2021!

Maria Franco