A Letter from a Student – The Inner Peace of a Child – I truly believe Maria’s underlined driven vision was to achieve a goal in which not only the adult realises the true potential of a child but also the child realises the true potential within themselves. Hence the quote repeated in her books stated ” the goal of early childhood is to activate the child’s own desire to learn Independence”. The Montessori philosophy is aimed at guiding the child towards their own independence. To do for themselves, To think for themselves and most importantly to analyse for themselves. One cannot analyse without choices, hence the Montessori method advocates for choices to give the child options within his spectrum of knowledge so he can decide what will meet and fulfil his need at that given time. I know It seems like a lot to ask a child to do. As adults through no fault of our own we are wired to assume the child can do nothing. We take on the hero role but forget that we take away from the child the chances that show them that they can be their own hero. They can do it. As a soon to be teacher I see not only the excitement but the deep satisfaction, almost like an emotional growth, when a child overcomes an obstacle/work he/she thought they could never do. It truly is a beautiful sight. Their terminology changes from “I can’t do this” or “Its too hard” to “I did it, I really did it on my own!” or “This is actually easy I want to do more”. That moment of courage, that moment of self belief, that true pure moment is what we drive to make long lasting. “You can always do it”. In our generation even we subconsciously tell the child that they’re not enough. Their effort is subliminal. Just aim for the end product and skip the entire journey. But the silver lining has always been the journey, what did you learn along the way? How many times did you fail and yet did not give up? And most importantly, failure is not permanent. You can fail many times and win at the end. You really can!
You wonder why Montessori is against fantasy. Fantasy sends the message to a child that you have to be a super human with some sort of power or magic to do great things. Being you is not enough or can’t be celebrated. We fill their heads with non factual stories that tell us a happily ever after only occurs to those who are special such as Princesses, or people with magic, fairies!! Stories that don’t lead you to learning from your mistakes because they’re none to be made. We then later gasp when the child grows up not to love themselves or believe in themselves. Ignoring that we never gave them the foundation to do so. What happened to stories that taught moralistic themes such as if you’re generous the world is a better place or if we help each other no matter how different we may be it causes a positive ripple effect. Stories with real actual emotions, real morals, real teachings. Also, do we encourage our children enough: “You can do it, just give it a try, wanna give it another go”?. The world in itself is in such a hurry that our terminology as adults is now ” Let me just do it for you, you should be doing this by now”, or my personal worst: “Look what another child can do”. To achieve the concept of inner peace in a child we have to find the balance. We have to let them be a child as well as guide the adult within that child by feeding them emotional, physical, and mental “INDEPENDENCE “. It all begins there. Montessori is an education for independence, preparing not just for school but for life. “For the greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence” ~Maria Montessori.