Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Montessori Moment: Observation and Following the Child

NAMC montessori observation following the child using cylinder block This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

A Montessori Moment
A “Montessori Moment’ is any moment in a Montessori environment that is particularly fulfilling or touches your soul in an especially impactful way. Today I experienced a moment that was very special and I would love to share it, but first a little background information.

Kasia is a little girl who is three years old and new to our Montessori preschool. She is still very timid and reserved and has only spoken a few times. She is having a very difficult time engaging with the other children and struggling to find “work” on the shelves. I have tried to spark an interest in several different Montessori materials, but so far nothing has worked. She will come with me and watch the presentation, but as soon as I leave the mat or table, she quickly puts everything away and returns it to the appropriate place on the shelf.

A Montessori Moment: Observation and Following the Child

Kasia spends most of her day wandering around the classroom observing others and I have noticed her paying particular attention to the Montessori Cylinder Blocks. Last week I approached her and said, “I can see that you are really interested in watching your friends work with the Cylinder Blocks. If you would like me to show you how to work with them one day, all you need to do is ask and I would love to give you a lesson.” Today for the first time, she approached me and asked if I would give her a lesson with the Cylinder Blocks.

I was absolutely thrilled but of course, didn’t want to let her know how excited I was. We walked to the shelf that houses the Cylinder Blocks and carefully carried the simplest block to a table. I provided the Montessori lesson and Kasia watched with great interest. I then invited her to have a turn and quietly stepped back. To my delight, she continued on her own for at least ten minutes and when she was done she made the following statement to Jordan, “The Cylinder Blocks are so fun. How about you do one and I do one and we’ll be a Cylinder Block team.” I stood there in awe and sure enough, they each chose their own Cylinder Block and took it to their own table. It was wonderful to see Kasia inspired, engaged and eager for more and even more excited to see her interacting with Jordan and for him to accept her invitation ... what a beautiful moment!

This was a perfect example of not pushing a student, but instead carefully following her lead and facilitating when the child shows interest and readiness. I am hopeful that Kasia’s interest and enthusiasm will continue to grow and the bond that she and Jordan made will be strengthened even further in the weeks to come.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

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