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Friday, May 18, 2018

Simple Flower Work - Montessori Young Toddler Week 24

First, I want to apologize for missing a couple weeks on this series. A surprise bout of the stomach flu got to me last week, and before that Gus was sick. But, we are back and better this week! 

It's been a busy couple of weeks and when that happens I can sometimes feel like I'm not meeting Augustus's needs like I should be. As the third baby, I do sometimes feel that he can be lost in the shuffle of chores, school pick-ups, and big kid activities. But, then little things happen that remind me that he's got this, and to trust that in the right environment, he's in charge and his path is perfect.  


Gus loves pegging work. Many of his favorite materials are pegging of some kind. So, I shouldn't be surprised that when Gus reached for a precious spring flower that Nora had set out it immediately filled a different type of need in him than I was expecting. 

I'm not going to lie, my Gut reaction was that he was going to destroy the flower. Not in a malicious way but in his 17-month-old exploration way. My next thought was that he was going to dump all the water on the carpet. Both proved to be a lack of trust and faith on my part. Thankfully, I sat back and watched as I was reminded of Maria's own words: "the great benefit we can bestow on childhood is the exercise of restraint in ourselves." (Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents)

And, instead of all the bad things I was thinking, he grabbed the vase, sat down and slowly lifted the flower in and out of the vase. It became his new and challenging pegging work. The flower was fine and not a drop of water was spilled. 


Gus had found a way to fulfill exactly his interest in the exact way he needed, simply by being in his environment. It was a wonderful reminder that what he needs most is an accessible environment and an observant adult. So, if you have a young toddler, don't be afraid to add some precious details. Don't be afraid to add some natural elements. And, don't be afraid to just watch. 

"It is a delight to watch with what enthusiasm the child works when he is given freedom, and when he finds to hand suitable objects with which to satisfy his desire for activity." Maria Montessori

When Gus was done with his pegging, he carefully returned the vase and flower to the shelf (although not quite in the same spot). And, it has remained there for him to work with. Eventually, I will show him how to add water to the vase and how to snip flowers, but this work is unnecessary at this point. Keeping it simple, following his lead, sitting on my own hands, and observing is all he really needs. 


The natural world has so many unique opportunities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers! We just have to be open to it. And so often that means more about our own behavior than it does about the behavior of our children.

Have you ever had a moment like this? Do your children ever remind you about what is really important? 

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Would you like to comment?

AME said...

I had to laugh when I read about how you had to "sit on your hands", that's exactly what my trainer told me and I want to remember more often! Thanks for the reminder about how important it is to sit back and observe rather than jumping to conclusions.

Unknown said...

Just beautiful. What a lovely moment :D