Dr. Montessori devoted an entire chapter of her book, The Secret of Childhood, to walking with a young child. She says with importance that a child who can walk must never be carried. What a difference from our usual way, isn’t it! She explains further that young children walk for completely different reasons than adults walk. Adults walk to get to a specific place. Children walk to walk. If you’ve ever walked with a child, I’m sure you can relate to the idea that the child is not simply trying to get from point A to point B. She strongly encourages the adult to adjust his/her walking pace to accommodate the child. She says, “the line of conduct to be followed by an adult is that of renouncing his own advantages so that he can accommodate himself to the needs of the growing child,” (Montessori, 1936).
What does this look like on a daily basis in modern times? First and foremost, it means allotting extra time. When we are rushed, we become forced to do the quickest thing possible. And the quickest thing possible is not letting your 18-month old set the walking pace for walking into school. However, this is the ideal. I want to focus on the word ideal because sometimes things do not go as planned or sometimes the child is having more difficulty adjusting and would never actually make it to the door of the classroom if the pace was hers alone. On a daily basis, letting your child walk on her own and setting the pace may look a lot different from someone else’s walking in on her own. That’s okay! We are all different. But, we can remember that the focus is on the ideal of your child walking in on her own at a comfortable pace for your child.
But doesn’t carrying the child convey care? Sometimes, yes. But sometimes it simply becomes a crutch for the child’s independence. You as the parent are the only one who will know the best course of action. Sometimes, our children can begin to think that an adult doing things for a child is the only way to receive caring feelings. This is what we want to avoid. Jane Nelsen, of the popular Positive Discipline series suggests that a child who feels that she only matters when others are doing things for her suffers from the mistaken goal of “undue attention,” (Nelsen, 2015). Both of my children have fallen into this pattern from time to time, so I have experience on all sides of this issue. Nelsen offers several suggestions for overcoming this pattern: redirect the child to a useful task and give useful attention, e.g. have the child wash a table and thank her for the work; use touch without words, verbally reassure the child but set healthy boundaries, e.g. “I love you, and we will spend time together after school, but right now it’s time for you to go to school and for mommy to go to work”; or perhaps plan special time together. To see Jane Nelsen’s full mistaken goals chart (a wonderful tool for any parent), click here to see the full Mistaken Goals Chart or pick up any of Jane Nelsen’s wonderful books.
Montessori, M. (1936). The secret of childhood. London, New York Longmans, Green and Co.
Nelsen, J. (2015). Mistaken Goals Chart. retrieved from: http://www.newhorizonirvine.org/wp-content/
We are excited to start another new school year with a wonderful class. A big “Thank you” to Lauren and Lariza for being our room parents. We all are having fun learning and getting adjusted together so much that we did not know that August went by so fast. We learned classroom and playground rules. The children enjoyed when they were introduced to land and water, and the names of the seven continents. They learned the difference in taste between sea water (salt water) and fresh water. We also started learning about sea life. We would like to thank all the parents for the birthday gifts. It is very thoughtful of you. Our music classes with Ms. Kathy and Spanish classes with Ms. Carmen are going very well, and the children are enjoying both the music and Spanish. In September, we will study about apples, trees, and also about our first continent, North America. Our Society meeting is on September 15. We are amazed at the effort put forth by all the children to make our classroom peaceful and respectful! September is really going to be an exciting month full of fun activities. Thanks to you all!
Welcome to a new school year. We are in the third week of the new school year. The children are getting adjusted with their new routine. This is the first school year for many of them. As their guide, I try to prepare the environment as much as possible, home away from home. My returning ones are really good role models to their new friends. It is amazing to watch how helpful they are toward the new members. Also the new members are learning things, watching their friends independently, never hesitating to experience new work. I always try to incorporate real life work with real life materials. They were very happy to see a real working sewing machine.
“To aid life, leaving it free, however, that is the basic task of the educator.” – Maria Montessori.
I truly believe in the above statement. Montessori method of education is an aid for the life.
“Love holds the universe together because it is a real force, and not just an idea.” -Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was ahead of her time. It was through her medical practice as the first female physician in Italy that she began observing children in a clinical sense. Her passion for observing children led to her eventually leaving medicine and devoting her life to creating an educational pedagogy that is based in scientific research, known as Montessori education. What is sometimes left out when we talk about Montessori education is her peace curriculum. Maria Montessori lived through two world wars and traveled the world during turbulent times. To say she was an advocate for peace is an understatement. She was adamant that educating children was fundamental to ensuring a peaceful future. This is evident throughout her writings, lectures, and her three Nobel Peace Prize nominations. She believed that in order for children to learn peace in their educational environment, it must be modeled by adults and be a consistent part of the daily curriculum.
In Primary II, we have begun our peace curriculum. We have already witnessed incredibly touching moments amongst the children. We will continue to do at least one lesson from our peace shelf per week throughout the month of August, and these lessons will evolve throughout the year. During last week’s lesson we talked about our love lights. We presented a silhouette of a person and talked about how despite our differences, we have one thing in common: a light that shines inside us. At this point in the presentation a flashlight shined behind the silhouette to emit a glow. We talked about how this light shines when we are happy and proud. When we are sad or hurt, sometimes because of someone else, our light dims. The flashlight was turned down so the light could barely be seen. The children gave wonderful examples of what makes their light shine. We are positive they would be happy to talk to you at home about this lesson and share what makes their love light shine!
We all need calm moments of peace in our lives. To this end, we have begun our practice of morning meditation. Without time to rest our minds, we become irritable, frustrated and can even lose sleep. Maria Montessori developed something called the “Silence Game.” When this game is implemented in the environment, the children are making a choice to make silence. We present the lesson by telling the children we will be creating silence together and hold up a card that reads silence. When they see this very special card held up, it is their cue to be silent and still. After a few moments, we whisper their names one by one to come out of their silence and stillness. Throughout the months and throughout your child’s three year cycle, their meaning of meditation and the silence game will become deeper and their focus longer. One additional intent of this activity is that it causes children to develop an awareness of their body and a sensitivity to the noise around them.
After two weeks together, we already see so much daily love and kindness between the Primary II children. Ms. Monica and I are exceptionally proud to bear witness to their daily growth emotionally and academically and are looking forward to a year full of peace and learning.