Montessorian in Everyone!

The child`s experience is not just with few activities that he/she does at home/school in a day. The child`s early years of life as a whole is an experience for life. Dr.Maria Montessori gave us many ideas/ways to deal with children as she dedicated her time observing children and working for their development. We very strongly believe that each of us who looks at a child`s holistic natural path of development is a Montessorian. Many of us might think, “I didn’t do the course. I may not know how to deal with children in the best way”. But we know many grandparents, parents, uncles or aunts are being a Montessorian, without doing any course. Certainly, Montessori Course allows a person to specialize in this area and centralize the thoughts around the child. But that Montessori sense is within all of us, who thinks for the child`s development.

Almost all parents have a dream of how they want their child to be in the future. Naturally, this very thought itself is the first step towards optimizing the child`s growth. No one else can think so much about your child other than you as parents. In a way, you are the first and the best teacher for your child. In this process, we always wish to fill the child`s life only with happy experiences and memories. That’s the natural tendency of a parent because we don’t wish to see the child struggling or disturbed. Sometimes with this point of interest, we tend to go wrong. We go a little overboard on this thought and do many things for the child without giving enough experience for the child, at an early age, which hinders the child`s natural path of development. All our love showered on the child becomes a little overdose unknowingly. We love our children more than anyone in this world! Isn’t it? To understand this limit or draw a line for our love, we have to know what experience is. What does it mean as an experience for such a young child?

The word “Experience” is something related to middle age person, an experienced adult, a person who has experience in a field for a long time. After serving in a field for a long time a person gets that tag. But how does it relate to young children? The whole early years of life or to be more specific every action or movement of the child is an experience for the child. Every activity the child does is adding up to the child`s experience. Here is an example. A child is trying to drink water from a tumbler for the first time. This first experience is just a feeling. The child can’t acquire the skill of drinking water at that very first time. The child may spill water, wet the dress, drop the tumbler down, throw out the water, many such incidents can happen. If the adult is disturbed about seeing the child struggling to drink water, then the child may not learn how to use a tumbler to drink water as the water would be given to the child by any other means. Only when the child gets the opportunity to drink water in tumbler many times it adds up to the experience. Such repetitive experience helps the child to acquire the skill. After a while, it becomes the child`s mastered skill. Now it is an effortless task for the child because the child is confident after acquiring it. Now, isn’t this learning important for life? This is education for life. There are many such activities which can be given as examples of life skills for young children. Greeting the person coming home, eating the food using hands, combing the hair, tying a towel after a bath, cleaning themselves after using the washroom or also opening and closing a book. All such activities are real-life experiences at a young age which adds up to the child`s knowledge and cultural values. Though academic education is equally important for every child, real-life experiences are those which help others to identify the grown-up adult as a person, and also as a member of the community.

Therefore it is very important to allow each child to experience his life to the best and not to hinder the natural path of development. All such experiences can be made as memorable moments if we know to optimize it.

As a family, each person`s help or work with the child will allow the child to feel the experience. Everyone has to prepare the child for any new experience. Preparation can’t be done at the last minute or just before the activity. Even as adults we don’t like such surprises! Isn’t? We wish to be informed much earlier and get prepared for the new activity. Then why do we forget to inform the child alone? Maybe because we feel they are too young for it! But more than adults they have to be informed much earlier. We have to sit and talk to the child, not by explaining the plan of action. We have to talk to the child to give a sense of security and develop faith in us to be with us for the new activity. The child has to gain confidence in the adult that, he feels valued and respected for every reaction he shows out.

These two are the keywords “I am valued and respected” – that we indirectly pass onto the child to make the child stay relaxed and calm. Only then we can expect the child to participate in the new activity. The child really can’t work along with us as a passive member. Active participation of the child is very important to transfer our knowledge or values to the child.

If the child is much older, we can also set a few expectations towards the new activity which makes the child contribute better in the work. If we work more collaboratively along with the child, then he/she becomes aware of the environment around. The child slowly understands the routine and the mode of communication. Through this process, the child`s self-esteem and self-confidence are built up strong and much prepared to face the future. The child would take this learning and it doesn’t stop there. They pass it on to the generation following them and thus society is evolved. Their experiences become a lesson for others too. This is how in the olden days the tradition, values, and culture were passed on for generations.

Sometimes its more important for us to stay away and watch the child attempting or struggling to do an activity. It’s tough for an adult to watch and not interfere, but once we practice doing that, then more than the child is given time to learn, it is you who has won for the day. Because you as parents have taken the best lesson to observe things from a distance.

The most important and fundamental aspect to be kept in mind is that adults have to keep the home environment alive and not make it a classroom. There should be a routine and discipline which allows everyone in the family to work collaboratively and lead a harmonious life with faith and confidence in each other. Then eventually there is a much better opportunity for the child to grow with an optimized experience for life. You are now certainly a Montessorian!

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