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February 06, 2018

The Importance of Modeling

Maria Montessori was revolutionary in many ways, not just in the world of education but in child development. She saw and recognized that children interact with the world differently than adults. She recognized that young children have an absorbent mind, that they literally soak in everything in the world around them in order to form themselves. Adults are a vital influence in the environment, not as a director, but as an aid. 

The important role of modeling in Montessori environments

I often get questions about how to:
  • get a child to start cleaning up 
  • introduce practical tasks 
  • get a child to use manners 
  • introduce new toys and games 
  • make your children help around the house 
and all sorts of similar questions. And the answer is so often, "model." And, not just model, but model with joy, with love, and with passion. Show you children how you want them to be. We need to use the absorbent mind to our advantage and guide our children through our actions. 

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So, we aren't telling our children what to do, we are showing them! And, this isn't always an easy task. And, I feel like I'm failing at it more often than I like to admit. But, it's important that we recognize how important our own actions are to our children. Modeling grace and courtesy in our interactions, modeling how to restore our environment and create order (even with our things), modeling how to sneeze/cough, or modeling how to do a puzzle -- these are all essential. Modeling is essential even when we don't recognize it, because they are always always observing, listening, testing. 

Modeling doesn't start and stop with parents. But, siblings are models, grandparents, friends, and teachers. Modeling is an essential part of a Montessori classroom. It's always present. It's always important. If you are facing a parenting struggle, consciously take the time to model. Model the reaction you want to see. Model the toy you think your child will enjoy. Model those kitchen skills. Model. Model. Model! 

Have you seen the effects of modeling first hand? Do you model for your children? 


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