03 October 2013

back to some basics: respect

In my Facebook feed this week there've been a couple of posts about Montessori basics. David Pritchard has started a series on the Godly Play España blog (written in Spanish) about the foundations of Godly Play, with a post about the Montessori method. He begins, En las escuelas Montessori la libertad es ciertamente muy importante, pero para conquistarla los niños tienen que trabajar de forma independiente y respetuosa.

(Keep reading - my translation comes a bit further down.)

Meanwhile, the National Association of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd USA has a FB thread going about ways to gently redirect a child. They asked, What are some phrases you use instead [of saying "No" or "Don't"]?

Here are some of their answers:

  • use positive examples
    • Let's do this. instead of Don't do that.
    • Remember we walk around the work rugs.
  • model the way to do it
    • Can I help you with that?
    • May I have a turn?
    • Let me show you how we work with this material.
    • Can I show you a better way?
      • OR have another child model it
  • gesture "stop" instead of saying No.
  • redirect them elsewhere
    • Please join me. (e.g. to get them away from a sticky situation) 
    • May I show you a material that you may enjoy working with?
  • help them remind themselves
    • Remember where we are? Who are we trying to hear in this space?
    • Is that your [church] voice or your outside voice?
    • Remember we walk around the work rugs.
  • remember that they have freedom but it's within limits
    • Your body isn't ready for that work yet.
    • You can choose this work another time, when you're ready.
At the same time, they stressed that it's okay for a child to explore new ideas with materials, as long as the the work is done respectfully.

As David Pritchard wrote above (my translation): In Montessori schools, freedom is certainly very important, but in order to achieve it children must work independently and respectfully. So it boils down to respect. Respect for the materials, respect for the others in the room, and our respect for the children!

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