Montessori & Mimi: A Love Story

Lots of folks ask us why my hubby and I send Mimi to the Baan Dek Montessori. We can make the answer really complicated with a host of reasons (see below for links to past blogs I’ve written for the school – loads of motivations listed there), but it’s actually pretty simple:

Mimi loves it. She just loves it.

Baan Dek follows the same academic calendar (for now) of the Sioux Falls School District, so Mimi is technically on summer break. While the school offers a summer program, these couple of months allow our family to save a bit of money and commute time by enrolling Mimi at the YWCA downtown near where both Dalton and I work. She’s in a neat preschool program; it’s funny because while she turns 4 in August, Mimi is so advanced (thanks Baan Dek!) that daycare moved her up to the preschool level. She likes the teacher, and while she can’t tell me the names yet of the kids she plays with, I know Mimi is having a good time.

Still, it’s been a battle getting her going in the morning. She wants to sleep in, she refuses breakfast, she begs not to go to school, she just wants to stay home with Claire-bear (the beagle) — all really rare for her (but great practice for those pesky teen years that’ll be here in a flash). During the Montessori year, she jumps out of bed, chomps on apples or oranges or bagels for breakfast, dresses herself, and prepares for school like it’s the best place to be in the world.

And for Mimi – and her parents – it is. I can’t explain how great it feels dropping her off at Baan Dek, jogging to keep apace with her eagerness as she bolts through the front door and into the greeting area to show Mrs. Maltai her ‘show and tell’ for the day (usually a random toy or object, like shoelaces, rocks, or the old sticker she found on her car seat that morning – Mrs. Maltai is always so generous with her reaction of amazement at the oddball collections). Mimi heads into the classroom like she owns the place, and it’s so fun to hear her classmates and Mrs. Picton-Coates sing out her name like the best welcome home party ever. Sometimes she remembers to say goodbye to me 🙂

Last night before bed, I came in to Mimi’s room and found her building with blocks. She said, “I made my Montessori classroom.” Sure enough, she used her red and blue blocks to build a miniature testament to the school she misses so much. It fell down, and I asked her if I could take pictures of her building a new one, so we could send it to her teachers. She was more than willing to oblige. I made this video using the Splice app for iPhone for her teachers, whom she misses dearly.

Key dialogue

  • What Mimi built: “It’s my Montessori classroom.”
  • Why she built it: “Because my Montessori teachers will like it.”
  • The message: “Hi! I miss you Mrs. Maltai, I miss you Mrs. Picton-Coates.”

This is what her school actually looks like (notice the reds and blues that Mimi pulled into her block classroom). Take a drive for yourself; it’s located on the northeast corner of 85th Street & Western Avenue.

If you’re interested or have questions regarding Montessori education, or want more information about Baan Dek, their web site is a tome of excellent resources. June and Bobby George, the founders and owners of BDM, have wonderful imaginations and are constantly expanding the scope and reach of their school. Check ‘em out.

Some past blogs for Montessori:

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