“The goal of early childhood should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn”
Soon after Alfie was born it became glaringly obvious that Fred and Ted didn’t have clue what they were doing. They were however very clear on what kind of person they wanted Alfie to grow into, they hoped he would be confident, capable, calm and creative. These seemed like attributes that would serve an adult well, but how should they go about instilling them in this sticky, mewing bundle of brushed cotton?
The answer was found in Montessori. The Montessori Method is a child led approach to education that focuses on developing the child’s independence and individuality by supporting his natural development in a prepared environment. In our home we implement this in three ways; adapt, observe, respect. In essence it means giving a child the peace and space they need to grow!
Adapt. We have adapted our home so that Alfie has the same opportunity to use and enjoy it as we do. For example some furniture has been scaled down for his comfort and lots of his belongings are placed at his level.
“The aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the child independent of the adult”
Observe. We observe Alfie’s natural interests and skills and allow him to lead us. We then offer him materials which will hopefully encourage him to strengthen them. For example when Alfie started showing an interest in string ties on clothes we presented him with a basket of ribbons.
“The essential thing is to arouse such an interest that it engages the child’s whole personality”
Respect. We offer Alfie our respect by acknowledging that he is an individual with his own interests, agendas and capabilities. In action this means allowing him to do as much for himself as he is capable of and not rushing him to fit in with our adult world. It also means showing respect to our environment and our belongings by keeping it neat.
“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”