Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Following The Child — Observing and Guiding Learning

NAMC montessori following the child red rods at mat
Follow the child, they will show you what they need to do, what they need to develop in themselves and what area they need to be challenged in. The aim of the children who persevere in their work with an object is certainly not to ‘learn’; they are drawn to it by the needs of their inner life, which must be recognized and developed by its means.
—Maria Montessori

In Montessori, we believe that the child is drawn to certain activities and that he instinctively knows what he needs. A child may try an activity and struggle with it initially. But he may return to it a little later with more success and then repeat it many times before mastering it. All of which may happen naturally without the interference of a teacher.

Following The Child — Observing and Guiding Learning

Montessori’s phrase “follow the child” does not mean you let the child do whatever she wants. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that the child has her own pattern. The key to understanding this idea is observation. As Montessori guides, we constantly observe the child in the classroom. We pay careful attention to her interests and the activities to which she is naturally drawn, and we monitor her understanding and development of skills. We then use this level of ability as our guide.

Montessori teachers take into account where each child is at during a specific point in time rather than imposing our idea of what the child should learn at that time.

If a child needs more time in a particular area, we have the freedom to give her that time to really learn that concept or skill. If she has mastered a skill or concept, we give her the opportunity to learn more about the concept through extensions or we present her with more complex work related to build on her knowledge of the concept.

NAMC montessori following the child error in grading color tablets at mat

From our observations, we are able to follow the child and determine their needs. Maria Montessori stated, “Follow the child, but follow the child as his leader.” We provide the opportunities to learn, grow, and develop in a safe and carefully prepared environment. The environment is created with the child in mind, considering both his current development and his future needs. We respect the child and his natural progression, honoring his spirit and independence.
— NAMC Staff
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, December 29, 2015.


Post a Comment

Have questions or comments? Let us know what you thought about this article!

We appreciate feedback and love to discuss with our readers further.

NAMC Blog Inquiries Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Search the NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog

Are you interested in reading back through NAMC's blog articles from years gone by, or for more information on a specific topic?

Browse a select list of our most popular categories below; by clicking on one, you will see every article posted under that topic since 2007. You may also use the lower archive menu to select a year and month, displaying all blog posts in the chosen time frame.

If you are seeking a range of information on a certain topic or idea, try this search box for site-wide keyword results.

Choose From a List of Popular Article Topics

NAMC Montessori Series

Montessori Philosophy and Methodology

Montessori Classroom Management

The School Year

Montessori Materials

Montessori Curriculum

Montessori Infant/Toddler (0–3) Program

Montessori Early Childhood (3–6) Program

Montessori Elementary (6–12) Programs

What is Montessori?

Search Archives for Montessori Blog Posts by Date

Thank you to the NAMC Montessori community!

NAMC has been providing quality Montessori distance training and curriculum development to Montessorians around the globe for more than 25 years. Since beginning in 1996, we have grown to build a fantastic community of students, graduates, and schools in over 160 countries. We are grateful for your continued support and dedication to furthering the reach and success of the Montessori method.