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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Live and love

Video: B Helps M With a Runny Nose

Monday, January 7th, 2013 11:22 am | By Stephanie Woo

B Helps MI know I won’t always be there, but I hope B and M will have each other for life. So it’s not too early to teach them to help each other out. They can help each other pull off the sleeves of a particularly tight shirt, pull up the other person’s underwear (usually from behind where they can’t reach themselves), pull off each others’ boots, fetch things for each other, etc.

It’s cold here and M has a runny nose.  Here’s a video of B helping M fetch a tissue to wipe her nose:

Connection Before Correction

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 10:24 am | By Stephanie Woo

 It was a 5 minute interaction that made this clear: Connection Before Correction.

We had just come home from our afternoon walk. Brooke takes off her jacket and throws it on the ground. I say, “Brooke, please put your jacket away.” She starts running off. I say it again in a louder and sterner voice. She doesn’t look back. I take the jacket to her, hold her arm and say, “Brooke, put it away.” She tries to pull away.

And then I remember that I had been away for the weekend and been coming home later than usual. So I get down on the floor and say, “Okay, can I hold you?” She looks at me and nods ‘yes.’ So I sit there and hold her. We don’t say a word, I just hold her and stroke her hair while she sucks on her thumb (she still does that). I would let her decide when she’s done. Three minutes go by. Then she looks up at me and I say, “Darling, can you put your jacket away?” She stands up, fumbles around looking for the hood and hangs her jacket on the hook, then runs off happily.

I’m home with my kids everyday, so overall, I feel connected to my children, but I don’t know how they feel. Then I figured it out. When they act out, they don’t feel connected. That’s when I know it’s time to give them more.

Thanksgiving With Our Cousin Sam

Monday, November 26th, 2012 10:46 am | By Stephanie Woo
Sam Helping Mackenzie

Sam helps his little cousin on the horse swing

For Thanksgiving, we flew down to the high desert of Albuquerque, NM to visit Mark’s family. There, B and M discovered a new love – their 5 1/2 year old big brother and cousin, Sam.

Sam has a half-sister who is much older than him, so in many ways, he’s like an only child. But he was a pro when it came to taking care of his little cousins. For example, the morning after we arrived, Mackenzie got her hands on Sam’s battery-operated tonka truck. He was trying to show her how it worked, but she wouldn’t listen and just kept on doing what she was doing. Sam said aloud to the rest of us, “She thinks that will work, but it won’t.” But he didn’t interfere. He just let her try it out. Lo and behold, minutes later, Mackenzie cries out – frustrated over the toy – “Help! Help!” Sam was then able to show her how to play with it properly. How many adults do you know who has the patience and wisdom of letting the little ones make their own mistakes?

Later, we were outside playing in the backyard. Brooke goes up to Sam and says, “Sam, help.” Sam starts walking. He sees that Brooke is just standing there, so he comes back, takes her hand and then says, “Show me what you want help with.”  Brooke taps on the seat of the plastic horse swing (see picture) and says, “Here.” Now if I were helping Brooke, I would just pick her up and put her on, but I’m pretty sure Sam would have a hard time picking up his 30-pound cousin. As it turned out, it wasn’t necessary. Brooke was able to bring one leg onto the horse’s back by herself, and Sam only had to lift her up a little bit for her to get on. As Montessori says, “Any unnecessary help is a hindrance.” Picking her up all the way, like we adults would do, is unnecessary. Sam, on the other hand, was able to give her just the minimum amount of help necessary for her to be successful. The kind of help Sam gave her is what we Montessorians spend years trying to master.

In case you’re wondering, Sam goes to a Montessori school and is in the last year of his 3-6 primary class. Montessori mixed-age classrooms make so much sense. The older children take care of the younger ones, show them the ropes and then gradually, as the younger children get older, they start to take care of the new children that come in after them. You cannot ‘teach’ a child to do this, but when they’ve had the experience of being taken care of by older children, when it’s their turn, they do it naturally.  The little society that’s created within the classroom doesn’t require much adult intervention, in fact, the more invisible the adult, the better. Older children make better teachers than adults (look at Sam) and the little children are eager and attentive to whatever the older ones are showing them. This makes me think of a traditional classroom I visited a couple weeks ago where the teacher stood in the front of the room ‘teaching’ while her kindergarteners sat cross-legged on their designated spots on the floor. The teacher asked questions and the children raised their hands to answer. If you got it right, everyone clapped, if you got it wrong, the teacher moved on the next hand. That’s the kind of learning environment I grew up in, and now I see how mechanical and insular it is.

So B and M had a great time in Albuquerque, discovering tonka trucks, building train tracks and swinging on swings with their new favorite playmate. And thanks to Sam, I was able to relax this Thanksgiving too!