From time to time, I’ll share here a Montessori moment or two. You know those moments when you think to yoursel, “this is why I do Montessori.”
In my class today, one of the children had put some hair clips in their hair. On deciding they didn’t want them anymore, they slid them out and they were about to drop them on the floor. I quietly stood up from where I was sitting, touched their shoulder and said, “The hair clips go here”. We walked together across the classroom, I pointed to the dish on the self-care table for the clips and the child placed them back in the dish where I was pointing.
It reminded me how we often spend a lot of time giving our instructions to our children. I could have stayed seated and told the child, “They go over there” and pointed. I could have lectured them about putting back things where they belong. I could have repeated myself over and over.
Or I can show, not tell.
This may mean we need to get up to tap a shelf to show where an activity goes, to touch the bin where the orange peel belongs when it’s done, and to not talk but slowly demonstrate the movements required to open a lock. The likely result is often cooperation.
Whilst it looks like perhaps I don’t have to do much in my classroom, I’m constantly modelling the behaviour for the child – how to care for a friend who is hurt, how to listen quietly, how to look in their eyes when we talk. And parents often say they learn a lot just by watching how I talk with their child.
So if you want to help someone, maybe you don’t need to tell them. Perhaps you just need to show them.