Friday, March 29, 2013
Dozens of times a day I help young children into the car during dismissal at our Montessori school. Sometimes parents are hurrying to finish up a phone call or wrap up a text message when the car door opens. A parent who is feeling nervous about struggles her child is having at school may ask, "How was your day? Were you good today? What work did you choose?" A young child is almost never equipped to answer all of these questions. A child hardly ever thinks to evaluate the entirety of his day. He is living in the moment and right at that moment he is just waiting to be received.
I didn't think much about this daily ritual until I witnessed a father and his three year old little girl lovingly greet each other one day. As I helped her buckle up, Dad turns and looks straight at his daughter with melting warmth and a smile in his eyes and says, "I am so happy to see you." She smiled right back at him and said, "I sliced apples for snack today!" It was a beautiful gift from father to child of complete acceptance. The father had the patience to honor this priceless moment. We don't have many opportunities in a day to receive our children, and it's worth creating space to show your child no matter what happened that day, she is the most important person in the world in that moment. Maybe, if we just listen she will choose to share what is important to her.
Monday, March 18, 2013
|A low sink supports independence in the classroom|
|There are always opportunities for sweeping.|
|This tray is set up for carrot slicing. Also on the table is a tray for bread baking and paper cutting.|
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
What do we do instead of praise and reward our children? When a child comes to us beaming with pride, stop and share fully in the moment with the child. Share his joy and exuberance without words, and listen rather than speak. We can accept so much more in a moment of connection and shared emotion than we can communicate with a label or an award.
- A child may feel successful, even if we don't define the outcome as "right." When we don't define success with our praise, a child can experience his own sense of gratification.
- She may feel joyful about something completely different than what we choose to praise.
- We wish to encourage perseverance, but we usually praise a job done effortlessly and perfectly.
- We know children develop skills through repetition, but we almost always praise the child the first time he completes a task, then ignore or even grow frustrated when he repeats it 100 times.
- A child who is interested will stay focused. When we praise the actions we value, the child must choose whether to follow our interests or his own. He loses the opportunity to experience the joy of following and discovering his own interests.
- When we don't describe people as good or bad, smart or dumb, nice or mean, we teach our child to fully accept himself and others. When he asks "Why?" we can say, "He is still learning," or "She forgot to use her gentle hands." We can help him say, "I don't like that!" or we can explain, "You can join us when you are ready."
Our child doesn't need to hear, "I'm so proud of you," he needs to share his joy and see that you receive it.