Imagine a world where your child is reaching adult age and he/she is confident about his/her talents, socially integrated, stimulated by the difficulties and overflowing with creativity!
As a parent, one deals with a roller coaster of emotions. First you have a dependent relationship (especially mothers), where attachment develops and a nurturing relationship is created. Then, little by little (sometimes years), a tiny individual submerges and he/she is gradually guided into independency. The road is sometimes bumpy, other times smooth, but overall there isn’t a one size fits all way of raising a child.
Isn’t it funny how animals gain their independency very quickly, whereas humans need guidance? We take longer to eat on our own, to walk and we need help to discover our environment.
My son is attending a Catholic school, which adheres to the public school curriculum. To my dislike, at school he is sometimes evaluated, which I find very premature for a preschooler. But at home, we do our best to offer him a solid foundation and accompany his learning at his own paste, while respecting and praising his individuality.
Below are a few principles inspired from the Montessori pedagogy that have guided our son’s evolution:
- Order – external order allows a child to build themselves internally. Routine, time and space references – meal times, nap times, bath time. The idea is to give the child an environment that he recognises.
- Movement – when children learn how to walk they are like Columbus who just landed in the New World. Stimulating and developing their muscles is essential for their physical development. Free movement leads to exploration and discovery, which instills learning and self-confidence.
- Language – the child builds his speech in relationship to his environment – reading stories, singing, constantly explaining what we do. Verbal communication allows the child to store information and give a meaning to his surroundings. I remember feeling like I was giving a monologue, but to my pleasant surprise it paid off when my little one started responding and reciprocating.
- Socializing – humans are made to be with each other. Observing and participating in social interactions progressively prepares the child to become aware of their individuality and establish relationships.
As parents and educators, the real challenge comes when we have to constantly observe and develop ingenious ways to support and guide each step of our child’s development.
When done with love, it repays dividends and also brings you closer to the imaginary scenario from the beginning of this post. It’s the type of love that strengthens the child and nourishes the parent. I encourage you to love your child and accompany them as best as you can!