The one thing that has most helped me to become a better mom is the parenting course I took with Cornelia Lockitch about 9 months ago. I know I have quite a few readers out there with young children, and many of you share my basic parenting philosophy. Some of you may have even heard of Cornelia and her work. If you just needed a little nudge to take a closer look, here it is. If you’ve never heard of Cornelia or never considered taking a class in parenting, I hope I can convince you that a little professional help can go a long way, if you find the right professional.
Cornelia is a Montessori-trained teacher and the founder of Guide Your Child Parenting Resources. She applies Montessori principles to home life with toddlers and preschoolers to help parents “delight in their child’s early years by giving them a practical framework for understanding, talking to, and guiding their young child.” At her website, you can sign up for her free e-newsletter and download a 20+ page report called, “The 3 Simple Child-Management Secrets Montessori Teachers Know…and No Parent Should Be Without.” These freebies are great, but the real value comes with talking to her one-on-one about how you can challenge your child while nurturing his or her natural independence and curiosity.
At the abstract level, Cornelia explained to me Montessori’s 4 sensitive periods: movement, language, order, and sensorial exploration. She taught me how to look for signs that Samantha was immersed in one or more of these periods. As a result, I take a few minutes each week to ask myself, “What is Sam in to now,” and I use the framework Cornelia taught me to help decipher Sam’s behavior and plan activities for the week.
We discussed different views of the parental role, and how both the “buddy” and the “disciplinarian” models fail the child. I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself falling into one of those roles and recall Cornelia’s simple and elegant view. Go read her website and newsletter and you’ll get the flavor of it.
Cornelia gave me 6 concrete ways to apply the principle of advance preparation, 7 specific ways that I could encourage language development, at least 30 age-appropriate activities that I could try with Sam, and probably over 20 tips for setting up our home so as to foster Sam’s independence in day-to-day life. All of this advice was customized to Sam’s age, development level, and to our family situation. Cornelia even took into account the fact that we were living in a tiny 800 square foot rental house at the time.
I visited 2 Montessori preschools this past week and used the advice that Cornelia gave me about how to assess the quality of a Montessori school. I’ll write more about that as my hunt for the right school for Sam continues.
The best endorsement I can give Cornelia, though, is the testimonial I wrote for her website:
Thanks to Cornelia, I am a much more confident parent. Before I took her parenting coaching program, I was trying to follow some of the Montessori principles, but I was not always sure how to put them into practice-especially when my daughter was only sixteen months old and not walking yet! Cornelia gave me so many practical ways to put my ideas into action. She showed me that it wasn’t too early to show my daughter how to put away her own shoes, help with diaper changes, and clean up after a meal. Now I know how to challenge my daughter with interesting activities without overwhelming her, and she loves it! We communicate better, and best of all, my confidence allows me to enjoy my time with my daughter without self-doubt and confusion. Thank you, Cornelia!