Monday, July 20, 2009

A Lesson Learned...

(...or "learnt" for those of you speaking British English)

I had just finished putting g down for her morning nap, when G asked if we could do some activities downstairs. I immediately agreed, quickly formulating a mental list of lessons that I've been waiting to present to her. Once we got to the classroom, I asked her if there was anything in particular that she wanted to work with. She got out a magnetic fish puzzle that I put out for the younger children at the beginning of the year. After working with it for a while, she asked me how to write the word "crab". I got out the moveable alphabet and showed her how to make the blend "cr" and then asked her what letters would complete the word. She completed the word, and then asked for help spelling some more. We worked like this together for a while, but deep in my Montessori brain I was thinking, "I should've asked her to clean up the fish puzzle first, it looks like a mess over there, it might be distracting to her, blah blah blah."

Well, don't you know it, she looked over at the fish puzzle and started fishing again. This time, however, she fished for the crab and placed it on the mat next to the word "crab" that we had previously spelled. She started spelling "fish" and then asked me for help with the "sh" sound. She picked up the fishing pole again and started picking up all of the fish from the puzzle and placing them under the word "fish". This continued through the words "seahorse", "octopus" and "jellyfish".

What a beautiful lesson she created out of her own interests. Her lesson included language, sorting, and zoology! Imagine if I had interrupted her thought process (as many well-intentioned parents and teachers do) to ask her to pick up the puzzle. Of course, instilling a sense of order is one of the foundations of the Montessori philosophy. However, this has been ingrained in her head since birth- she knew to pick up all of the work after her attention wained. Why didn't I trust my parenting skills? Why didn't I trust my child?
My lesson learned: FOLLOW THE CHILD.

1 comment:

  1. And what a most difficult lesson this is for me (and mothers of my generation). We are so used to following the child around busily picking up after them. Thankfully, nothing I did stopped you from becoming a fantastic mother AND Montessori teacher. I appreciate the lessons you teach me which proves we are never too old to learn something new and valuable!