fostering independence

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say,’The children are now working as if I did not exist’.”
MARIA MONTESSORI, The Absorbent Mind

How often do we hear “Me do it!” ¬†from our toddlers? How many times will they zip and unzip their jacket, or put on and off their boots? Fill-and-dump-and-fill-and-dump-and-fill-and-dump the basket of blocks?

It can be so very exasperating for a parent – but such repetition is vital for the child!

When anyone learns a new skill, all they want to do is practice, practice, practice. The adult learning to play the guitar knows this, right? Which is precisely what we allow for in a Montessori environment. If a child wishes to spill beans, and sweep them up, and spill them again? Go for it! When they have a ‘real’ spill later, that skill will already be ingrained, and they won’t be daunted by the broom. Independence, at it’s most basic level, is the ability to meet one’s own needs. From dressing, to feeding, to writing to reading, the goal for each child is to be able to do these things for themselves. The freedom of something as simple as being able to blow your own nose, or right your own inside-out shirtsleeve, is a wonder to behold!

By preparing an place where everything is child-sized, and where each skill is carefully demonstrated to a child, the Montessori method is the ideal environment for your child to become independent. As they build confidence through these exercises of daily living, they are also preparing their body and minds for future learning. By watching their older friends, they become interested in what is to come, and by helping their younger friends, they reinforce their own understanding and skills.

Come sit in our classroom for a spell. Watch the children move with joy and purpose, preparing their own snack, cutting flowers, making a painting or building a tower. See the pride on their faces as they sweep up a spill, or figure out an addition problem ?All by myself!? Notice how the younger students turn to their elders for help -reinforcing the idea that someday soon, they too will be in the position of helping others.

“I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.”

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