Friday, January 20, 2012


This evening I had a meeting within our housing project. I had to take Leander to the office because his father came to pick him up there on his way home from work. While I was preparing the flipcharts and the To do list in the meeting room, Leander made himself busy in the kitchen. Usually I would run after him and carefully watch what he was doing. Today I just took all the knives out of the drawer and placed them out of reach. Then I did what I had to do and Leander did what he felt like doing.

Since I am recently doing the Montessori children's house teacher training I am aware of the joy and excitement children bring along for all sorts of housework. Basically everything they see us doing. They want to be part of our world and society. So they don't just copy us in their play, they want to take part in the REAL world. And it is our job to LET THEM (in a safe environment).
This does not mean placing plastic cups and cutlery and knitted fruits in their reach. It means to trust them and allow them to experience with the real stuff.

I have been really keen but also a bit scared with that myself. I bought Leander glass bottles from the beginning (until I learned that he would refuse any type of bottle or drinking item that is not the breast). He learned drinking in a plastic cup called the "Doidy Cup" because it was THE ONLY thing he would accept when he started eating and needed to take in a bit more fluids. After that he was allowed to drink from glasses, ceramic cups and eat from ceramic plates with stainless steel spoons and forks. So far he broke one plate in two halfs so we could glue it back together (because it is a plate from me when I was little and I love it) and the handle of one cup. I was almost hoping there would be more damage in the cup section as we have too many anyway.
It took me a while to empty the dish washer with Leander around because as soon as he sees the machine open he comes running over reaching me every single glass, cup, plate and spoon. He loves to help and he is so careful that so far nothing happened. It's in our heads and once it's there - it happens. But even if it did - don't we ever drop any plates by accident?
If we keep taking things out of their little but careful hands the minute they grab them we take chances and opportunities from them to learn, to experience and to practise. And at the age of 14 we might shout at them for not being independent and careful.

So here is what Leander felt like doing and although I didn't need him to because we had a meeting planned and not a dinner I couldn't help but watch (and film):

Unfortunately I stopped too early but here is a picture of him a little later with a pizza plate that is almost as big as himself in his hands:

Montessori once said something like "If we give them precious material to work (play) with the children will feel precious too." Without words, hugs or kisses. And I think I have seen the living proof of that today.

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