We hear this phrase so often in relation to crossing the road, to be aware in health and safety, science lessons, meditation, quality control, auditing, interviewing and many more. …. But how often do we apply it to ourselves as parents?
All teachers are taught and are indeed required to observe children, but how often do parents allow themselves the luxury?
Let us explore......
One of the joys of being a Montessori practitioner is that you are trained in depth, how to observe children… in detail, awe, objectively, compassionately, care; with the aim of creating the environment and conditions to allow the child as an individual to explore with confidence and learn with pride, contentment and happiness.Montessori teachers, and the practice of education is to consider the child as an individual, to look at detail their characteristics of learning, their personal style, and what motivates them, and makes them happy, then create the conditions, support and environment to facilitate this. The result, happy, calm and contented children, enjoying what comes naturally to them….. Exploring, Learning, Motivated, and above all Happy.
Let us go back to being a parent......
Next time your little one is contentedly playing......
Stop, pause what you are doing, and watch. Do not interrupt unless they ask you a question.
Look at the detail. What are their eyes looking at, what they are doing, what is happening around them.
Look at how they are sitting, fidgeting, still, balanced, sprawled out, on a chair, laid back, still.
Look at how many times they are repeating the process or activity.
Look at how they are playing, two or more activities in rotation, one only
Look at how many times they look to you, to check you are watching them, or looking for support.
Look at how their hands move, how they hold things.
Look at how many times they attempt to do things before looking for help and support encouragement to continue.
Listen, are they listening to the sounds around them
Listen, what are the sounds around them
Listen, are they communicating with themselves
Listen, are they communicating with their toys
Listen, can you hear your comments, or those from a favourite DVD or song
Listen, are they experimenting with their own sounds: loud, soft, harsh, quiet, fast, and slow.
Whilst we are observing, and enjoying the experience, we should try to use as few words as possible….. Something many people will find difficult to do, when there is a great deal of emphasis on constantly talking to your children. Talking to children, is indeed very important, but at times we can interrupt their concentration when they are working out things for themselves. There is a time to talk and a time to not to. Sometimes just a nod, a smile, a tilted head is enough recognition for the child to feel noticed, and then carry on in their path of exploration, concentration, and self-fulfillment. How often has a child shown frustration when they are happy with an activity or watching something and we say, Let us visit the toilet, let us put on our coat to go out. Children need time to come out of concentration, to move onto another activity, they rarely like abrupt changes in transition. A little prompt just before you need to put on the coat… in a few moments we will put on our coats to go to …. Then later bring out the coat and put it by their side….then in a few moments ask to put on the coat. This countdown usually helps prevent frustration.
The Look and Listen list, is helping to identify what makes the child comfortable in a learning situation, their characteristics of learning, what motivates them.
If we ensure the correct conditions in other situations, we know they will be confident.
If a child is comfortable and confident………..they can concentrate.
If a child is comfortable and confident and concentrate……..they will learn.
When a child has taught itself something, they are far more able to use that knowledge in another situation and solve even more problems.
If you allow yourself this luxury, and regularly put aside a little time to indulge, you will appreciate even more the subtle little developmental stages, taking place all the time. The children appreciate being watched. So many children, interrupt parents to get attention, this observation time, sometimes helps, they learn that you are there without words.
If you try this out, congratulations, and we hope you enjoyed the experience. You will appreciate how much we enjoy our roles as practitioners, and would welcome you to visit our setting if you live near us.
In the world of today and the future, we know, that the human race will need to be able to teach themselves….. Even to keep up to date with changes on their smart phones. Let us start the method now….. It comes naturally to children when they have the environment to support this.
The Montessori approach fully supports this individual learning process, and at our setting we hold regular coffee mornings to advise and update and inform parents of the montessori approach and the environment and teaching methods to support this. We have extensive environments for the children to freeflow, both indoors and outdoors, quiet and noisy, hands on freeplay, and guided activities. The children, are calm and excited, motivated, learning, and most of all Happy.
Please visit our website(www.montessori-uk.co.uk) or Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/Horsham-Montessori-1474789262550488), or just simply call us at 01403-750504 for more information….