I remember to this day, the joy I felt when my dream of finding the right school for my daughter came true. I’ll explain why shortly….Right about the middle of my pregnancy, like many other women, I experienced nesting behaviour in preparation for the arrival of my sweet daughter. I was elated with the news when I discovered I was going to have a baby girl; something I dreamed of since I was in my 20’s.She was due to arrive some time midDecember, so that summer I decided to go to an open house at a Montessori school in Markham to sort things out. I know, I know it was a bit early, but I like to plan things ahead of time….For me, the choice of Montessori was a given. The selection of a school was just a matter of where and how, and if it would fit in my life moving forward.So, with my 6 month belly, I arrived at the school, where a very friendly group of teachers and the principal walked me through Casa, Elementary and High School. The memories came back: the sand paper letters, the beads, working on the floor, small chairs and tables, all the materials organized and open at the child’s eye level.And finally, the work of those little hands, the absorbent minds, which can master the world inside those classrooms was shown to me. It was impressive. The workbooks on the table showed perfect round letters and accurate math calculations, all products of children who are still in pre-school. Yes, it is not magic. Kids can do that and much more. It is all part of the genius of Maria Montessori. She believed that children are like a sponges, they learn everything you put in front of them.As I walk out of the school the principal hands me the binder with information, I ask him if there is room available or if I need to reserve a spot for my child, when he asks me obvious question: “How old is your child now?“ and I point at my belly… He said, “You have plenty of time…we never have parents come in that early to book a spot”…The school was solid, it seemed it had what I was looking for, but I was somewhat saddened by the fact that I had to give up something very important to my child’s educational framework: Jewish content. But the search was not over…The reason I chose Montessori above all other educational methods is because I believe that there is no other educational method that seems to be better fitted to the future of our children.In my experience, learning by rote, and learning content is not the way to learn. Learning how to develop critical thinking requires a different approach and most schools fail to do that with their conventional methods. Learning through peers, in groups, through trial and error seems more profound.Being myself a Montessori alumna (even though I went to other schools too, Judaic and private non-Jewish), and reading books upon books about education (part of the legacy of Montessori is the lifetime passion for learning), I know that this is the right education for my children.I did not give up the search. A Jewish education on top of a Montessori education would be a dream come true. I still wanted to think that there would be a Jewish school that would include Montessori in their curriculum in Toronto, in this day and age. So I Googled it….and to my amazement, I found it in a directory of Jewish schools.I quickly called the school, asked a million questions, asked if it was an accredited school by a Montessori Organization, and yes, all of my questions were answered. Except, the only drawback – they only started at 3 years old. I booked a spot for my daughter when she was as young as 2. She started at only 2.5 years of age.When I walked into the quiet classroom and saw the little kids work on their material, the very same material I grew up with, I felt at home. But the surprises kept coming – the school is more than just a school, it is a community, it feels like a big family. What a wonderful environment to raise my children in!