Taken from Montessori Print Shop
In order to learn, a child must first be able to concentrate.....but, you cannot force concentration upon him.
He develops concentration by fixing his attention on some task he is performing with his hands.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Stop and notice how often you engage with your child. Engaging is obviously important, but observation is also important. I think in our fast pace world, we (adults) can engage too much-intervene too quickly-and 'fix' situations for our children when there may be an important lesson for them if we allow them the time and space. It's important to sit back and observe your child. I challenged myself to do this with my niece today at the park. We try and spend one day together a week~she is so much fun to be with! I could honestly just eat her up and engage/interact/talk to her constantly. But, I sense and hear her say sometimes that she doesn't want me in her space. She doesn't want me to intervene. She doesn't want me to figure it out for her. We went to the park and I challenged myself to only respond if she prompted me to. It was amazing to watch her run and play at the park quietly. She would sing or hum to herself at times and go from the monkey bars to the swing to the merry go round without a thought or care. In our classroom at Community Montessori, the teachers realize how important observing is and we learn so much about the children by just watching them work and interact with the environment. But, to take that philsophy out into the 'real' world is more of a challenge. I so enjoyed watching my niece today~there is something about allowing a child to really get to know themselves without so much conversation and intervening and asking questions. There was one point she fell slightly off the monkey bars (they are small ones-made for younger children so she didn't fall far). I so wanted to go to her and say, 'are you ok?', 'oh, you're ok' and whatever else I am so tempted to say. But, she got up said, 'Oh, gosh', brushed her hands off and ran off to the climber. She didn't NEED me to say or do anthing, nor did she ask me to. There is something about allowing a child to tend to their own needs as well. Lately, I have been saying to children at camp and my niece, 'let me know if you need help'. That gives them the power/freedom to ask for help as well as respects their need to try and work it out on their own. They may be attemtping to do something we know they can't do, but the trying and practicing is fruitful, and many times they will surprise us and be successful! Keep in mind the important process happening inside the little ones body and brain at these tender ages.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
An observation that someone may have upon entering a Montessori classroom is that the children and adults are communicating in a respectful manner. Oral language is important to the development of other language (writing/reading) for children as well as learning the social graces of the community. Children do not come equipped knowing these things-it must be modeled to them and they must be allowed to freely practice and learn how to communicate with others. At Community Montessori, we have a car line. The children arrive and are picked up in a car line each day. The teacher begins the day by greeting the child and the person who is bringing them to school. It's important for teachers to acknowledge the child, ask them how they are, and then say please/thank you/goodbye to the person dropping off. It's also important to make eye contact with the child. There may be times that a teacher will ask the child to look at them when speaking so that they can be better understood. Throughout the day, teachers and children interact with one another showing respect and a willingness to understand the child. Since our classroom has 3-6 year olds, children are very often learning how to speak to one another. Some children may be more shy, some may be in the early stages of speech development, and some may just need gentle guidance on what words to use when giving a message to a friend or teacher. There was an incident yesterday where a child came up to me saying that a friend was touching her. I brought the two children together, did some reflecting with them, and helped the child use her words to express what was bothering her to the other child. The other child cheerfully responded with a smile, 'I'm sorry' and they ran off to play. Many times conflicts that children are having are more with communication rather than the incident. Helping children successfully speak, give messages, express emotions, and hear what others are saying, is a big step in their development and maturity. Being patient and remembering they are learning can help parents have more successful conversations with children as well.