One thing that is certain for all who journey throughout life – we all try to figure out who we are as we go. What’s important to me? How do I handle situations? What will I do with what I have?
As a Montessori teacher, we assist each child grow into the most healthy and well-rounded human being possible.Why is that important for a child to learn? Getting to know yourself helps you figure out what it you’re working for and doing. In our training it is constantly pointed out that the Aims of any work in the classroom develop Self-Esteem and Confidence in a child. The goal of everything we do is to help them grow emotionally, because it is just as important as knowledge. A side-effect of growing Self-Esteem in what they complete, they also learned a little Math or Reading on the side. Funny how our current society’s goal is nearly the opposite of that. We measure people’s readiness based on their Math and Reading skills, when emotional readiness is just as important. Is it because those skills are more easily measured? What exactly can a person complete if they know all of the words in the dictionary, but can’t communicate because of low Self-Esteem?
I recently observed a classroom that I felt truly encouraged children to get to know their inner-self. On the wall was a mirror which the children used to give themselves positive messages. Looking yourself in the eyes and paying yourself a compliment is a powerful experience, and even the children visibly felt that importance. I can’t exactly explain how, but each child seemed inwardly happy and confident.
A Montessori classroom operates for the whole of the child. Through a natural curiosity to learn with the adaptive materials, the children complete activities confident in their own ability. The teacher of the classroom has a responsibility to not only educate the child’s mind but also the child’s heart. By being a positive and confident person in herself, her students can pick up healthy habits in regards to themselves. Children are very receptive and perceive many things that we don’t always give them credit for. They always seem to know when I’m having an “off day” and give me their own little hugs of encouragement. They learn that I am human, and can’t be 100% all of the time, but at the same time learn that this is acceptable. We are very adaptable and grow constantly, so we handle life as well as we can with a Sound Heart and a Sound Mind. To encourage the Inner Self in a child, you are encouraging the development for a lifetime.