Cartoons are not very Montessori. In fact, they aren’t Montessori at all. But this blog is called Real Life Montessori and, well, in real life I watch cartoons and so does Ryann.
My very favorite kids’ show is the UK cartoon, Charlie and Lola. I love it so much, I will voluntarily watch it without children present. It’s just that cute. Charlie is the older brother of 4-5 year old Lola and the series features all their everyday interactions in the most endearing ways. Lola is every young child you’ve ever known, to a tee! And Charlie is both patient and annoyed with his little sister. The show doesn’t talk down to its audience and it doesn’t sugar-coat or promote inappropriate behavior. It doesn’t portray gender stereotypes or try to take on too much substance. It’s just… perfect.
Like almost all good kid shows, Charlie and Lola is based on a series of books. According to Wikipedia, there are three original books and the rest are based off the show. I had never even seen any of these books until we went to the library yesterday and I have to say I’m just as in love!
We picked up I Am Too Absolutely Small for School yesterday. Ryann starts Montessori school in a little over a month and she has expressed that she is, in fact, not big enough for school so it was perfect! The book follows Lola’s insistence that she is not ready for school, Charlie’s insistence that she will want to learn all the new things things there and finally the culmination of the first day where none of Lola’s fears come true. A perfect, honest story. Ryann loves it in the way only someone trying to piece together the same puzzle can and has already had me read it about five times in the short time we’ve had it (the other books we picked out are getting no love).
I’ve been thinking a lot about how Montessori didn’t believe in reading fantasy books to young children since they have no way to sort fantasy from reality. I look at Ryann’s books and so few of them are completely real. I wonder what a Montessori bookshelf looks like. I’m not sure Charlie and Lola would be on it. But while they are cartoons, but they are at least human cartoons with real human problems. And I think that’s what I like the series so much, it is so relatable even to the youngest of kids where other cartoons are just flashy and nonsensical.