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Today’s work of choice: harvesting cauliflower.
Gardening is an outdoor extension to our students’ work cycle. Maria Montessori emphasized, “the land is where our roots are, the children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the earth.” Our gardens are lush with lettuce, cauliflower, flowers, and various roots. The children harvested the cauliflower, washed it, cut it and then steamed it for lunch this afternoon. What a joy it was to prepare for one another the “veggies” of our labor!
One of our absolute favorite blogs that we religiously follow, How we Montessori, posted a wonderful article explaining the benefits of allowing our children the opportunity to work with dangerous, or fragile things. In the classroom, our students are encouraged to work with challenging tools, such as scissors to develop fine and gross motor skills, they’re also allowed to grate/cut vegetables as part of food preparation/”practical life”, which teaches valuable life skills, and they’re invited to use glass tumblers to drink out of during mealtime. If they drop the glass, it’s not a problem. They’re well-equipped with problem solving skills to clean up any mess they make. We want them to learn how to handle delicate materials so that they will learn self-control, and self-discipline, amongst many things. We empower and enable our children to be self sufficient, working with tools that aid in their independence. Often times, learning from mistakes can be a powerful method.
Children need risk. Risk challenges them and keeps them alert, it makes them responsive and teaches consequences. However parents are often so afraid, it’s to the detriment of their children. Maria Montessori would call this oppression.
Children are capable. But they need our help. We need to enable and empower them.
Children need to learn new skills, real life skills. Once they are capable in one area they will have the confidence to work and excel in other areas. When they complete real work there is a powerful sense of accomplishment which can build the child’s sense of self. Children need work and accomplishments they can be proud of.