Happy Montessori Education Week!

Montessori Education Week: February 23 – March 1, 2014

“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge,
but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.” – Maria Montessori

This time of year, we celebrate the history and success of the Montessori Method, and recognize the contributions of Dr. Montessori herself. There are so many delightful ways to celebrate this week!

What can one person do?
What if there was one simple, personal way to incorporate this week into your life and work? A way to improve your time with children and deepen your understanding of the Montessori Method… A little something to do in a thoroughly Montessori way…

Here it is: Sit still.
Yes, that impossible task. Sit and be quiet. Sit and observe.

Sit and notice the things your child is doing.
Children do come with instruction manuals-We have to sit patiently, watch, and listen. They will tell us everything if we are quiet enough to hear it. You will see their perspective on things, the way they physically interact with their environment and the things in it, their preferences for work, and their curiosities. This is how Montessorians “follow the child” and, frankly, we can’t help but marvel at each child and the infinite potential right in front of our eyes.

Sit and observe your children at play.
Sit and wonder as you notice what activities they choose when they are alone and what things they prefer to do with others. How they speak to different friends. How they integrate themselves into a group, how they hang back sometimes. Sitting back and observing is integral to understanding who our children are.

Sit and observe areas in your home.
How is your child functioning? Is your child successful in these areas or do cabinets, shelves, or drawers, need simplifying or a little reorganizing? Can you adjust the spaces, cupboards or drawers so that, next time, they can follow their inclination and complete their responsibilities by themselves?

“Education demands, then, only this: the utilization of the inner powers of the child for his own instruction…”

Observation illuminates the path ahead.
Observing is the ultimate education on what matters most…the children themselves. It gives us the understanding we need to proceed in serving the child on his or her own unique path. Observing can foster more positive relationships, allow for independence and growth in your child, and ensure greater satisfaction and fulfillment for you.

For parents, observing can be tough. It can be hard to hang back, and it can be the last thing on our minds as we are busy multi-tasking and managing a busy family life. Yet, observing is truly one illuminating gift to aide understanding our children.

Small Hands – Adapted from an article by Kelly Griffith Mannion, M. Ed. Early Childhood, Montessori 3-6 and 6-9 Training
For more inspirational information on Dr. Maria Montessori, go to: http://www.montessori-namta.org/Maria-Montessori