Following the child is an essential facet of a Montessori household. It describes trusting the child to know his or her developmental needs, with the caregiver simply observing and providing an environment where those needs are met.
Well today, I followed the child in a literal sense. Havvie is 18 months old and not yet waking independantly, though she does use her walker around the house confidently.
As she’s moving around the house, she calls on me to follow her to the front door and asks me to open it. I assumed, she wanted to walk on the front porch. I opened the front door for her, and she made a beeline straight out to the front of the house.
I was not ready for this, so I let her know we can go out once we dress ourselves appropriately. The excitement for her was palpable. So we went back inside to put on her cardigan and shoes (for the first time!) and back out we went.
She strode out confidently with her walker, almost like she had done this before. It was a beautiful thing for me to just step back and stroll behind her as she led the way around our neighbourhood.
The things I observed during our walk were:
- She navigated every bump, turn and slope successfully.
- She did fall to her knees a few times and exclaimed “Oh no” but picked herself right back up and kept going.
- I slowed down her walker when I thought it was going too fast on a slope. She clearly expressed her frustration at this so I let her go even if it meant the walker got away from her. I made a mental note not to interfere unless it became dangerous.
- She stopped to point out every bus that went past, picked up some leaves and a bottle cap for me to put into the bin, stopped to admire some ants on the floor and touched the flowers that were growing out of the cracks in the pavement.
All in all it was 400 meters of new leanings, wonder and pure joy.