I see it over and over in blog post comments and Montessori groups. Eager parents asking, “Is this okay?” “Am I doing this right?” “Tell me what to do!”
This makes me think of one of three things. Number one, people are eager to implement the beauty and goodness of Montessori. Number two, people are uncertain and don’t know what to do or where to start.
There’s nothing wrong with this. The Montessori lifestyle is a journey. You learn, explore, and discover bit by bit.
You’ll hear me say again and again, take the time to read Montessori’s books, learning the different stages of the absorbent mind, as well as taking the time to observe your child and his or her needs in various settings and stages. There’s no rush. Truly, it’s better to take it slowly than dive in fast and deep.
Now, the next issue I see is the continuous questioning,
Is this okay?
Am I doing this right?
Tell me what to do.
I understand wanting to “get it right,” but think about this for a second,
one of the goals of Montessori is to have the child think for themselves, rather than looking for validation of a job well done in a parent or teacher our desire is for them to go through their own process of discovery for the sake of discovery…not to get it right or perfect.
It’s the process that’s important.
When we ask the questions, “Am I doing this right? Is this okay?” we’re doing the opposite of what we want to inspire and create in our children. Can we equip our children to pursue freedom and purpose in their education and lives if we’re consistently asking ourselves, “Is this right?”
So what to do?
Always and always, take a deep breath and step back. You’re not a failure. You’re not going to mess up your child if you don’t start Montessori as a baby or if you missed part of the scope and sequence or even, nay, especially if you can’t afford all the pretty toys, materials, or have a perfect space.
Here’s your pep talk:
Perfection is overrated. Montessori isn’t about perfection. Montessori was a doctor, a scientist…science is about forming a hypothesis or testing a theory.
There is no set curriculum by age. No perfect timeline someone can give you for your child. There is no one size fits all. That’s the beauty of Montessori.
It’s not about getting it right or having the perfect toys or an immaculate room or all the sanctioned words.
It’s about spontaneous activity. A natural love for learning. You can’t bottle that and sell it as an infomercial. It comes from within. So cull the environment, leave space for the child to find the proverbial matches and let them light the spark.
It’s about observation. Trial and error. No one can tell you exactly what your child should be doing. Get to know your child. Watch them. What do they like to do? What purpose are they finding in the activity? If you set up an activity, how do they interact with it? What purpose are they seeking to get out of it?
Get over getting it right. Ask yourself, Is this why I’m doing this?
To have my child turn to me and ask, “Did I do it right?”
What do you want to build?
Follow the child. Observe. Adapt.
Interact. Invite. Guide.