"Let the Children be Free"

It seems like I'm always busy. Always. There aren't enough hours in the day to get all the things I want to get done, done. I feel like I could rush from thing to thing all day long. But, I don't want life to feel like that for my children. In fact, I work very hard for it to be the opposite for them. To give them peace, slow, and freedom. Especially the freedom to just play. 

Montessori and giving children the freedom to play
"Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and, when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet...let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning." Maria Montessori
I feel like there is a pressure to make sure your kids are doing enough. That they aren't somehow wasting their time. That they have all the right "work" available to them, at any given moment. But, in all this pressure, they lose that freedom to just be. We can sometimes fall victim to thinking that children need to be working on some activity, tray, or objective. And, I don't think that was Maria Montessori's original intention. In fact, I think it is just the opposite of what she was trying to tell us. 


She knew that children needed time to be with nature, time to explore their own interests, and the freedom to make choices about how they would spend their time. We as parents are called to trust that our children know what they need and will follow their natural path when given this freedom. It's not up to us as parents to fill our child with knowledge, to keep them busy, to give them what they "need." It's up to us to give them the freedom to play {which we call work in Montessori} and explore and develop on their own schedule. 

This freedom leads to creativity, to passion, to joy! Like the joy I see as Henry and Nora run around playing some game they have invented on the swings. Each is an important part of a fantastical ride, first paying money, then screaming their hearts out. I don't need to understand the game, to dictate the rules, or to even interject myself to see that they are getting what they need. The joy on their faces says it all. 
"Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul." Maria Montessori

I know they have got this! So, next time you are worried that your children aren't doing enough -- or that you aren't doing enough for them -- let them be free. Err on the side of freedom. Give them the space, sit back, watch, and feel the joy. 

Do you give your children freedom to play? Or do you struggle with free time? 

Montessori and giving children the freedom to play

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Comments

The first quote in your post is one of my very favorite Montessori quotes :) I totally agree, I think it's really important to give children long stretches of open time, and its often beautiful to watch what they do with it.

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