Here I can Help You
I recently came upon an interesting article “We are raising adults, not children” which discussed the importance of fostering independence in the young child. A topic of great significance in the Montessori pedagogy circles, it is imperative that we also create home environments which allow the children to complete tasks with minimal adult input.
If we don’t teach skills, how can we expect our children to act with responsibility, or “respond with ability” when opportunity knocks?
Young children thrive on being independent. “Help me to do it by myself” is widely used in Montessori circles. The desire to be independent is a natural urge and a human tendency as the young child learns to become the adult of tomorrow. Young children value their autonomy. By creating an environment where they can exercise their independence with minimal adult interference develops not only their confidence but a variety of skills. As parents and caregivers it is our duty to nurture this budding independence. As the child practices s/he gains mastery in completing simple tasks. As competency increases, s/he is able to tackle more complex tasks.
Unfortunately, there are times when it is a lot faster and easier for the adult to accomplish the task at handthereby leaving the child feeling upset and agitated and even resisting “help.” Young children, particularly toddlers are learning skills and developing their competencies to accomplish tasks they see their parents and caregivers complete each day. By allowing them extra time and creating a safe space for completion of tasks unassisted, you will be amazed what toddlers and preschoolers can accomplish.
Creating a home environment which aligns with the Montessori principles of independence, the young child does not need to rely on the parent for her every want or need. Creating areas for ease of access to items in the home allows for not only the child to accomplish tasks without adult prodding but it also inculcates a lifelong sense of self-worth – that I am capable.
At Lawrence Montessori School, our Montessori certified teachers have created beautifully designed classrooms for children to develop and refine skills and take on the responsibility for caring for themselves and their immediate environment. Yes, it is a lot easier and faster for the adult to get jobs completed efficiently, however, if the young child is not given the time and space to develop these skills which s/he is naturally inclined to then we are thwarting development not assisting it.
“Every unnecessary help is an obstacle to development.” Maria Montessori
Read more about how you can guide your child’s independence here.
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