Excerpt from Brook’s Field of Dreams, 1996
Your child is like a seed growing into a flower. The Montessori Method allows the child to grow at his or her own natural pace, and we should therefore try to let go and not be so concerned with instant results by digging out that “seed” to check on its daily development.
This quote of Maria Montessori captures the beauty of her method. She believed that children learn on their own and the goals of early childhood education should be to cultivate a child’s natural desire to learn. To her, learning to read, write, and do math should be as natural to the child as learning to walk and talk. The Montessori environment and equipment invite children to learn these skills during their own periods of interest and readiness. Teachers show their respect for the rhythm of each child’s life in the way they guide the child to try new things and more challenging work. If the child responds with interest and attempts to use the materials the teacher has introduced, she knows that she has presented the materials at the right time. If however, the child does not respond with interest, the teacher suggests that they put the workaway for another day. There is no correcting or scorn. The teacher knows that she must follow the rhythm of the child for the child to succeed.
When children learn under these circumstances, they gain confidence and working habits that are necessary for more advanced learning activities. Dr. Montessori believed that instilling an early enthusiasm for learning is the key to helping a child become a truly educated person – someone who continues learning throughout life because he or she is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge.