The Difference

It isn't just cause and effect.

A good plant in poor soil will spend its energy adapting, adjusting, typically trading developmental complexity for simple survival.

That same plant in rich soil is another matter entirely.  A fertile, loamy mix doesn't just allow for easy growth.  It encourages it.  Energy that isn't required for survival can be applied to other tasks, strengthening roots and leaves, steadily expanding the shrub's ability to collect light, water, nutrients... to become something new.

You've read this far because you have a healthy interest in the early childhood experience.  The years between three and six were a primary focus for Dotteressa Montessori throughout her forty-two year career as a pedagogue and researcher.  They're the ground in which our minds and our characters are rooted.  A Montessori approach, deftly applied, reduces adaptive stress and draws out the emerging self within each child, feeding the muse of curiosity, fostering self-reliance and nurturing collaboration, cooperation and creativity.

Functioning like an extended family, the three-year (3-6) cohort provides a habitat wherein each child is both learner and a teacher, an explorer and (eventually) a guide, looking out for others while being looked out for.  It is a remarkable, occasionally magical environment.  And it is very good soil.

PS - Recognize any of the Montessori alumni on this page?