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The Power of Observation

Categories: Preschool / Why Montessori

From Mrs. Mayhugh 

The Power of Observation in a Montessori Classroom 

On a recent errand into Mrs. Rogers’s room, I spotted this young man working on a wide variety of words with the small moveable alphabet.  I was having trouble finding a pattern to the words he had formed on the rug.   I couldn’t come up with a phonogram that would link all of the words together; I couldn’t figure out an over-arching theme for a story.


Mrs. Rogers (as always) had the answer.  While this young 4-year-old hasn’t had a lesson on the phonograms yet, he HAS been watching and listening to his classmates have those lessons.  Mrs. Rogers told me that this young student loves to observe what his classmates are doing and try to tackle those lessons as well.  He absorbs what’s happening in the community around him and is determined to recreate the work himself.


On this day, he got out a rug.  He got out the small moveable alphabet.  And then he listened.


He listened to his friend Moises have a lesson on the “oy/oi” phonogram.  He listened to his friend Svea have a lesson on the “sh” phonogram. He listened to other classmates as they spelled out words for family members.


And then he wrote.  “Ship” (and later “fish”) from Svea’s lesson. “Annoy, “toy,” “join,” and “coin” from the lesson that Moises was working through as well.  “Mom” and “dad” from a lesson he’d heard previously.


In the classroom, your children have the opportunity to observe lessons many times before they’ve received the lesson personally.  They’ve worked through parts of it mentally before they sit down to take it on themselves.  And like this student has shown us, the internal drive to learn and create is strong.  What they observe, they do.