“Ah- ha!”

As parents and educators we want our children to make discovered on their own.  As adults we know that when WE figure something out by ourselves our memory is heightened, our self worth is elevated and we take that feeling forward to preserve  with our next task.

How do we accomplish this with our children?  When I was in training to become a Montessori guide my trainer often said “sit on your hands”.  Simply put, DO NOTHING!  When we, as adults, do nothing, and allow our children to “play” by themselves they are bound to make a discovery.

Man, can that be hard!  Especially when we are conditioned to DO things for our children and be present when they play (and yes… play WITH them).  Now, I am not saying to totally abandon your child.  Instead lets show the child how to do things and then let them explore by themselves to make discoveries.

Cylinder Block

In the Montessori classroom we have beautiful, inviting materials that are actually SELF CORRECtING.  Yes, that is right, your child needs NO outside conformation.  Take for insntace cylinder blocks.  These are used to explore dimension, develop a pincher grip for writing and are used very early in the primary classroom as an activity.

The concept is simple, 10 cylinders (different dimensions) that a child takes out and replaces.  Each cylinder only has one hole in the block.  If they get to the end and there are cylinders left they must take them out and replace again.  If one (or more) are sticking out higher than the top of the block, they must replace and figure again.

A young child doesn’t need an adult to tell them the cylinders are misplaced, they can see it plain as day.  When a child places them all in the correct place I often hear a “I did it!”  or “I did it all by myself!”  This is usually directed at no one in particular, just a response to that “a-ha” moment.

This feeling, which happens repeatedly, gives a young child a feeling of accomplishment (with no big person involved), an experience of  persistence, and of course JOY!

People ask why Montessori children in the classroom are so happy, at ease and busy.  The answer is simple: they are allowed (and expected) to make discoveries by and for  themselves.