Wheaton Montessori News
Mrs. Fortun passed on this short anecdote from her morning and we thought it was such a great reminder. So many times, we want to swoop in and rescue our children when they’re struggling. Often, the best thing we can do for these children is to step back and watch.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” – Maria Montessori
“I was just passing Mrs. Berdick’s classroom and saw one of her newest little guys choosing a dressing frame from the wall. As he picked up one, he accidentally knocked off the one hanging above it. There was a moment where he worked out how to handle the fallen one while still holding the chosen one. As I watched, like any human adult, I wanted to just take care of it for him, but I stood back and observed. Finally, he decided to set the chosen one down, picked up the fallen one with both hands, and went to hang it up. As this one hangs well above his head, he has to try several times, adjusting his hands lower on the frame to finally get it back up there. From my perspective, this was a HUGE effort for a guy his size – but he wasn’t frustrated in the least. He picked up his chosen dressing frame and went to find his seat. Had I stepped in when I first saw the situation unfolding, I would have prevented him from this opportunity to solve a problem using his judgement and his developing physical capabilities. I recall how as a primary teacher I would sometimes have to sit on my hands to resist stepping in to help when help wasn’t needed.” – Mrs. Fortun
If you’re interested in reading a bit more on how small failures can lead to triumphs, here’s a nice article by a fellow Montessori educator. The author also emphasizes how critical it is for us as adults to be willing to make and learn from mistakes, without being bogged down by the idea of “failure.”