Follow the Child

When I attended a Montessori 101 Night for parents several years ago, there were a few take-home messages that stuck out and could be applied at home and in any classroom.  Follow the child was one of them and since I love all things Montessori (that are done well), I've embraced it as much as possible every since.  Read below to see what else I learned that evening....

Take-home lessons learned:
  • Follow the child - Let the child take the lead, choose activities, explore, problem-solve and ask for help.  Too often parents and teachers intervene and do this for children.  Let the child choose/do/be and simply follow along as an observer.
  • Since the child will be leading, help limit the environment so it is not overwhelming.  In the 21st century, many environments tend to be busy, rushed and include too much stimulation.  For example, is your child's bedroom under- or overwhelming?  How about your child's classroom?  Aim for simple spaces with readily available materials.  For examples of what simple spaces look like in a classroom, be sure to read this post on Montessori Education, Part I and Part II.  Both posts are filled with helpful photos.
  • To help keep spaces simple, consider rotating toys, books, and activities.  Store items in plastic tubs or cardboard boxes in an attic, closet, or basement.  Some clever parents and teachers rotate items once a season or 4-6 times a year to keep those items interesting and engage children.
Sounds fairly simple, no?

Another day when I am in the Instagram-photo mood, I will take photos of lil O's spaces and show you how Mr. UpCyclist and I help her to simplify & organize them.