A few years ago, during a conversation with a dear friend, we started discussing and brainstorming names for, at the time, what I wanted to call my idea for a new business.
Rewinding from this conversation a few years, I have often daydreamed about opening my own school one day. I can visualize the environment, the handmade furniture and materials, the mission statement of the school, and so on, but what resonates the most is the name, Aspen Grove Montessori. You see, I am a native of Colorado and have grown up admiring the brilliance of Aspen Groves.
The Aspen Grove is one of the world's largest living organisms, interconnected through their root system underground, while emerging individually above the surface of the earth. The life of one individual tree is no more or less important than that of the next as they are all connected, bound together under the surface.
Individually, they are a part of a whole, as are humans. We exist together. No one human is more or less important that the next. We are all connected in this shared human existence and we cannot survive without one another. Individually, we are part of a whole.
I was describing this idea of mine, the link between humanity and Aspen Groves and children, and through some Google searching about plants and how they begin life, we discovered the "radicle".
The radicle is defined as, "part of the embryo of seed-bearing plants that develops into the main root." Without the growth of the radicle, the plant will not survive.
The moment I read this I knew that this would be the name I would use to one day get my message out. I loved instantly that the definition in botany is so closely intertwined with the meaning of the age of toddler-hood, along with the pronunciation:
radicle = radical.
From day one in my Montessori career I have been a radical thinker. One definition of "radical" states "thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms." When it comes to my ideas of raising children, toddlers specifically, this certainly does define me.
My ideas go against almost all of the accepted or traditional forms of raising children. I believe that children deserve respect, rich language, beautiful materials, experiences outdoors, and a faith in them that eliminates the need for all the ridiculous mechanisms that our consumerism society deems necessary.
We are not here as adults to entertain or pacify our children. We are here to aid and model life, real life being lived. Yes, I am a radical thinker, and I look outside of the box, always seeking out what is best for children, not what a marketing executive makes one believe is best for children.
My ideas can be off-putting at first for many. But my goal is for adults to think and not just buy, or pacify, to use intuition, to gather knowledge, to understand that a toddler is not a baby. A toddler needs experiences. A toddler need language and conversation. A toddler needs respect, kindness and no "time-outs". A toddler needs to begin to understand human emotion and how to manage that. A toddler needs role-models.
And a toddler needs adults who understand this critical part of life.
So welcome to my world of radical thinking and Radicle Beginnings. There is no judgement here. Just an ever-present desire to educate and help adults think outside of the box. All for the benefit of the child.