Have you ever wondered how Montessori teachers make it look so easy to teach children new skills?
If you’ve seen a Montessori class in action you would most probably have noticed a couple of things which help kids a lot.
Montessori teachers are renowned for slowing down their movements and breaking it down into small parts.
For example, say a young child wants to unscrew a jar. You could of course just open it for him. OR you can show him how to unscrew the jar.
Breaking it down into bite size movements, I like to place the jar on the table (this will give the child greater chance of success to copy). I hold the lid between my thumb and fingers. Then I turn a quarter of the way. I reposition my fingers on the jar, and turn again a quarter. Keep going like this until the jar is open.
It is amazing how quickly children can learn this when we slow down our movements and make the movements very deliberate and bite-sized.
One more thing, particularly for children under 3 years, is that if we talk at the same time to explain our movement, they don’t know whether to listen to us, or to watch us. I usually just say, “Look” to get their attention, and then just use slow movements without any commentary.
So if you are trying to show your child how to put on their shoes, make their bed or virtually a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, see if it helps to show them very slowly and broken down into tiny steps.
PS – I love collecting small jars like these little jam pots. I use them mostly for filling with glue, or for a small amount of water for water colour. You could also fill with a small amount of butter or jam for making a snack at home.