May Peace Prevail on Earth - Montessori
What is working for us - a child friendly calendar and learning the days of the week

Patience and Trust

Otis at How we Montessori, Child Sized Skeleton Puzzle

At our recent parent teacher interviews I mentioned that Otis appears not to be progressing with his reading or writing. I understand the importance of practical life and sensorial work and I appreciate the social and community aspect that school offers. But surely he should have picked up a new letter or sound by now. Surely he should be getting his 's' around the right way by now. 

What I have learnt is that with some skills children get it straight away. Other times they might ponder. At other times they might not want to be working on that skill right now "sand paper letters are sooooo hard", even if they are within that sensitive period. I remember wondering if Caspar would ever learn to read and now at seven he is a little book worm. 

If you want to follow the child you need to trust the child. Trust that it will come. Trust the educational system you have chosen - it's the only way forward. If you doubt the educational path you have chosen then it's time to ask questions and possibly move on.

We cannot continually question the educational path we have chosen especially if it child led, there has to be some period of patience. Some period where the child has the space to learn, to absorb, a period of consolidation. In Montessori terms this period may be a three year cycle (and removing a child within those three years doesn't allow the child to complete the full cycle).

It's also important to trust the teacher or class director. They really cannot be questioned. In my view when we start questioning their judgement we start questioning the educational path. I don't suggest not raising issues but if these issues cannot be resolved then a continual mistrust or continual questioning is not of any benefit, it puts the process at risk.  

Can a comparison be made to a child learning to walk? The child has been crawling for months. We feel impatient. Everyone else's baby is walking, why isn't my baby walking?!? We can do things to 'push' or 'make them' walk but in the end we are hindering them and they will start walking on their own when the time is right for them, when all of the steps have come together for them. We need patience to allow them the space, the time, provide the environment then… trust the child. In the end they will show us what they are truly capable of.

As a side note Otis' teacher does have some concerns about his language development that we will be following up with a speech pathologist. This is another crucial part of an educational system - especially an alternative one, to trust the teacher when they observe things that are not quite right. Often we believe we are our child's only advocate, sometimes we have to let go of this. If you are blessed with good teachers you may find they are your child's advocate too.

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