It feels a little sketchy divulging the details of a parent/teacher conference, somewhat akin to violating attorney/client privilege or doctor/patient confidentiality, but it also seems important to document this first major scholastic event. And not just because the school director said Miss M was super, super smart.
We weren't all that surprised when the opening discussion of M's overall demeanor and temperament involved the word bossy, though. Apparently her father and I are not the only people she likes to drag around by their noses. She's what Miss F. euphemistically referred to as a "leader," which is the polite Montessori term for the kid who targets a group of smaller children and commands them to do her bidding. "She's got Fortune 500 written all over her," Miss F said optimistically. Meanwhile, The Admiral and I were slightly relieved to discover that it's a common stage, and can be exacerbated by major life events (like an upcoming baby), but will eventually become a less overpowering part of her persona.
The academic portion of the review was more heartening. It seems a little silly to call a 3-year-old's efforts to pour water and sort beads and button buttons "academic," but I've bought into the Montessori theory of cosmic education enough to believe that these small, seemingly unimportant tasks are laying the groundwork for the bigger work that lies ahead. And the good news is, she's doing well. She loves "practical life," which is the school's category for things like serving food, washing dishes and cleaning up messes. I suspected as much, considering that one of her greatest joys in life is helping me dust and she waxes poetic about the joys of the "spill tray." But we were surprised to see how well she was progressing in language, since she never really talks about doing that work (a taste for irony is genetic, I guess). And Miss F said she'd even ventured into some of the math work, which is quite advanced for her age and time in Montessori. The only category where she really wasn't taking a dramatic interest was sensorial, which I thought was sort of odd considering what a sensitive kid she is. Maybe that's why, though. Maybe she senses enough as it is.
In all, it was an interesting and revealing look into her activities during the seven hours a day she is out of our immediate control. Especially since she's turned into a 14-year-old lately, and answers all questions about her day with, "Nothin'" (Her teenage 'tude is dampened a bit, however, by her pronunciation issues. "What did you have for lunch today?" "Nussin.") It's a tremendous relief to know that she's happy and thriving and taking in experiences that we wouldn't even think to offer her. Although she'd probably think of them herself, because, you know, she's brilliant.