Skip to main content

A Lesson in Following the Child

A couple weeks ago I picked up a set of unpainted peg people from a craft store. Henry loves little people and animals and I wanted to paint him a set to use with his building and unit blocks. When I got them home, I painted six of the eight with rainbow colors. We've been on a rainbow kick over here, and I knew Hen would love them. 


As I expected, Henry loved the painted pegs and spent a great deal of time playing with them. After a couple days, though, he discovered that I had two unpainted people left. He immediately started asking for a black peg and a pink one. The pink was for Nora, he insisted. {Henry says that pink is Nora's favorite color -- despite the fact that she shows zero preference.}

But, then there was the black. I asked why he wanted the black, but he didn't tell me a reason. I thought it was a weird color choice, and pushed back by offering other paint choices. Still, he insisted, and again I brushed him off. 


Finally, he literally brought me the peg person and the black paint from my office and asked again. At this point, I gave in. I had already painted the pink person, so I didn't really have any other use for the final peg. 

Once the black peg person was dry, Henry couldn't contain himself. He immediately got his blocks out and got to work. This peg had a very particular purpose. "Sit with me Mom! Let's build a church!" Now, building a church is not unusual for Henry, he actually likes to do this a lot. But, then he completely surprised me. 


"It's the Father! See Mom!" Henry said as he held up the black peg. Henry had wanted a priest for his church. I was shocked. That's why he was so insistent. And, I'm sad that I almost didn't follow his lead and missed this amazing moment.

So, lesson learned...follow the child. Follow the child. Then, follow some more. You might be seriously surprised and amazed where they take you.  


Comments

Oh my goodness... what a beautiful story!! You're doing something right with that little boy. ;-)
Anonymous said…
Great story! Do u mind sharing what kind of blocks those are. They look fab. I like the natural color of thd wood.
The blocks were handmade by a friend! They are beautiful unfinished wood.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…