The Pan Am and Parapan Am Games have been in Toronto this last month.  What an amazing opportunity to see unbelievable athletes compete in almost 50 different sports, from canoeing and BMX biking to tennis and speed roller skating.  It is also an opportunity to witness the grace and courtesy that truly professional athletes develop in the course of their training and experience.

The ability to engage in competition while also supporting and appreciating the efforts and skills of your teammates and other competitors was on display this week when Taddle Creek Montessori  joined other independent schools from across Toronto at the ISSA Track and Field competition.  Our children ran their hearts out, threw in the javelin and shot-put heats, and jumped as far as they could in standing and running long jump.  The best part? Every time one of our students crossed the finish line, the whole team piled onto them with cheers, hugs, and congratulations.  First, last, somewhere in the middle, it didn’t matter, our children celebrated the joy of pushing themselves.  As one child said, “I LOVED running like that!”

Despite frequent misperceptions, the Montessori approach is not fundamentally “against competition”.  However Dr Montessori did observe and emphasize that competition was not the best way to motivate children to learn.  In all three of the Mildenhall Montessori Schools, our students learn to collaborate with each other and appreciate their own individual skills and strengths without the need to compare.  This allows them to engage in fun, exciting, and enthusiastic competition with themselves and others without fear. Failure has little meaning if you are unafraid to make mistakes, try again, and appreciate your own gains and accomplishments.