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What Did You Do All Day?

I don't know about you, but when I ask my kids "what did you work on at school today?" I always get the same answer -- "I don't know" or "nothing." Every time. I'm not sure why. I can phrase the question slightly differently or open up about my day but, still, I get very little in return.

Observation is key to seeing what your child has been doing at a Montessori school.

Nora has been at her Montessori Children's House for about two months now. Every day when she bounds out of the Children's House, I'm curious what she has been up to for the previous three hours. I want to ask all the questions and get all the answers. One, because, I may be a bit of a control-freak, but two, I'm a Montessori junkie and I'm genuinely SO darn excited for her to get the chance to play with everything. 


But, I've learned to sit back and wait. Not to ask her what she did, but wait for her to show me what she has been doing. And, with some careful observation, she is showing me. She may not be showing me the number rods, or the pink tower, or whatever -- but she is showing me her newly learned careful movements. As she pushes a puzzle back into place, or as she carefully lays out a place mat. The movements of her hands are suddenly less toddler, more refined, and careful. With these changes, I know she has been working on her practical life skills. 

I see it in how she sits, in her interest in counting everything, and in how she watches my hands as I complete tasks. I see it as she folds laundry, as she carefully lines up her shoes, as she washes a window. She may not be able to tell me, but I see it in her exhaustion midday. In her need to rest and read. I see it everywhere. 


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It's also new interests! For awhile, I would find Nora around the house with a box of tissue, sitting and slowly folding. She would fold each little tissues and make perfect little piles around the house. I knew immediately she must have seen napkin folding work at school. And, sure enough I confirmed it with her guide.

Nora plays with the Grimm's Octagon Puzzle.

So, I guess this is another lesson in observation. A lesson in letting the child lead the way! They will show you, and it is incredible. Take the time to sit back and watch! 


Does your child talk to you about what she/he does at school? How do you discover what your child likes to work with?

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Comments

The Lion said…
I wonder what kind of result you might get if you asked questions like, "How are you feeling today/right now/how did you feel today?" etc. instead of action-oriented things? Do children have a strong capability at your daughters age to remember complex sequences of events such as how they spent their time? Is it even clear to a child at that age what you're asking with that question? I wonder if that is part of the reason you get the stumped response.

With an older child or adult, it'd signal depression or evasion... but I don't think your preschooler is depressed! So I wonder if it's more a "world view" thing, and connecting with emotions would be more meaningful?

I also wonder about volunteering information about what you did/how you felt while they were at school, and what you wondered about, and see if that elicits an empathetic connection?

I don't know the answer here, just thinking about it in anticipation of these conversations with my Little Lion one day!

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