Originally published by Amanda Konopaska at montessorirocks.org.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com. Larry Page & Sergey Brin of Google.com. Julia Child, Cooking Extraordinaire. Anne Frank, Author. Taylor Swift, Pop Singer.
All of these people have something in common… a Montessori education that started in Kindergarten.
An entrepreneur can be defined as a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money. These successful individuals also exhibit multiple traits that parallel a child who is entering a Montessori Kindergarten. Have you ever stopped and wondered if you, as a parent, are instilling those traits in your children or do you just expect them to gain and understand these characteristics through life experiences as they prepare for college?
All parents want their children to be successful but not everyone knows how to help those precious childhood dreams become a reality.
In Montessori schools, entrepreneurs start in Kindergarten. It’s true, Kindergarten students learn traits that help them to become prepared and confident adults. You will have a difficult time finding a Montessori teacher who holds on to the belief of waiting until their students are “old enough” to start realizing their dream. Instead, you will notice that the journey to success starts the moment your child enters the classroom on that very first day of school.
Here are six traits of both Montessori Kindergarteners and successful entrepreneurs. The parallels are truly uncanny, if you ask me.
1. Both are… DETERMINED
Children love goals. At an early age, children devise work plans, alongside their Montessori teacher, in order to define their “work” for the day. Although the work of a Kindergartner and an entrepreneur differs, the pattern is the same. Kindergarten is not all about play, although it is an integral part! Kindergarten is about learning practical life skills and exploring their senses. Setting goals is also one of the many skills that they will begin to learn at as early as five years old.
2. Both enjoy… TAKING RISKS
Try to remember the last time your child didn’t want chase the ball that went into the street. As you were sitting back shouting “STOP” and their sneakers came to a halting stop on the gravel at the end of your driveway, know that they were working to fulfill their need to take a risk. Clearly this instance is not one we want them to take. However, in the Montessori environment, we allow for healthy risk-taking daily. From practical life activities that involve carrying and pouring from glass pitchers (yes, real glass!), cutting up a snack with adult supervision to learning about natural consequences when something doesn’t go quite right, risk-taking is definitely evident day in and day out for these little ones. The classroom environments follow a “help me do it myself” mentality to assist in instilling responsibility and confidence at such a young age.
3. Both are… CURIOUS
As an entrepreneur discovers a new idea and works to implement it, so do Kindergartners as they learn with the materials around them. We encourage exploration in the classroom. We want them to get dirty, we want them to experience a conflict and how to solve it, and we want them to develop a love for their own interests. Curiosity allows the child to become their authentic self.
4. Both crave… LEARNING
Both entrepreneurs and young kiddos experience the love of learning alike. The learning never stops in a Montessori classroom. As new works and follow-ups are introduced to the children, they are enticed with their work and are encouraged to push themselves. In Montessori classrooms, the children are engaged in thoughtful presentations and works that they just can’t seem to get enough of! It is definitely a trait that can sometimes go unseen in a traditional school setting. The love of learning starts in the early years and progresses throughout the child’s lifetime.
5. Both are… PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR WORK
The fact is Kindergartners and entrepreneurs love what they do because they have a passion behind it. Although slightly less defined for a 5 or 6-year-old, if they like coloring, you best believe your fridge will be full each day after school. The point is, in a Montessori school, children are taught to embrace their work and love what they do. Starting this at a young age and allowing choices within the classroom, along with exploration, allows the children to embrace their work and feel excited about it.
6. Both are bursting with… CREATIVITY
While entrepreneurs use their creativity to spark new ideas in their business, Kindergarten students are working to discover what interests them. The power of a Montessori classroom is the fact that teachers follow the interests of their students. If a child has a strong love for logic and mathematics, the teacher can continually work with that child to advance their knowledge and experiences with materials. Allowing the children to explore their interests and be creative while in Kindergarten helps them to begin defining who they are as an independent individual.
It’s no wonder Montessori Kindergarten programs are so prosperous! A place where children are not only prepared for the next level in their education but also for life. A life in which they can follow their dreams and feel confident enough to do so!
Now, I can’t commit to saying that your child may be the next pop star, chef, or President of the United States, but with Montessori I can guarantee that your child will be prepared to live an independent and successful life!