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January 19, 2022

When Will My Child Do *That* Montessori Work?

There's a lot of really amazing aspects of Montessori education and parenting. So many possibilities for introducing the world to our children. At home, it might be some really cool material you bought, or it might be a practical life opportunity that you want to share with your child. Your decision to introduce it might even be based in something you've personally observed in your child, or based on your experience with the material. You may generally feel it's a good time or choice. 

And, it still might not interest your child at all. Like not even a little bit. See the thing is every child will come into their own with work in their own time. 

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We are learning and relearning this with Theodore. Teddy is neurodiverse and very much on his own timetable when it comes to a lot of Montessori work around the house. In particular, he is very much on his own path when it comes to practical life. While his siblings might have had an interest in something far earlier, he has been later in a lot of areas. But, the thing is, it literally doesn't matter. The timeline cannot be important to us as Montessori parents. It doesn't matter when your child is finally interested in that work. 

Instead, I feel like it's far more important to understand why a child is interested, and how to protect the inner life of the child. As Maria Montessori said, "we, as adults, must play a new role - we must understand that instead of helping the child we only hinder him if we try to mould him directly." {Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents} Instead, we can understand that a child will do something when they are ready. When their intrinsic motivation leads them to that activity to work on their own development. When they can feel the joy from that self-directed activity. I call it the sweet spot. When the child is both motivated and joyful in their work.

So, as parents, instead of worrying about a timeline or forcing work to make sure they get everything they need, we can protect their love of work. We can cultivate their joy in their self-chosen activity. Montessori says, "the child should love everything that he learns, for his mental and emotional growths are linked. Whatever is presented to him must be made beautiful and clear, striking his imagination. Once his love has been kindled, all problems confronting the educationist will disappear." {To Educate the Human Potential}

We can do the hardest of tasks - trust the child. We have to trust that our child knows best when they are ready for that work. We can open up those opportunities, and be available. But, we have to know that they will get there when their joy matches their motivation - and only they can know when that will be!

Do you find this process hard? How do you trust your child's timeline?


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