Last week was the start of our fall parent observations! The opportunity to come and observe in the school environment can be really helpful for parents to get a better understanding of their child’s day at school. However, observing your child doesn’t stop there!
A huge part of the Montessori philosophy is observation. Scientists have long known that observation is the key to understanding. Maria Montessori referred to teachers as scientists, their jobs were to observe the children in order to meet their needs. However, this concept isn’t limited only to school. Observing your child at home has many benefits including getting to the root cause of behaviors, appreciating or learning your child’s capabilities, and noticing new ways to challenge your child! Below are a few tips for observing your child at home.
Start small. Observing your child doesn’t mean you have to sit down and stare at them for hours! Start with a few seconds or minutes while they’re playing or use observation as a tool to calm yourself down when a behavior challenge starts (watch, and ask yourself, “What is really happening here?”).
Observation is objective. This means you can’t add your own assumptions or feelings to your observations. Note what is ACTUALLY happening. It may be a helpful tool to get a small notebook or start a note on your phone and practice jotting down exactly what you see, leaving out any emotion or assumption. The more you practice, the easier it gets. In order for observation to be a helpful tool, it must be objective.
Use your observations! Not every observation requires an action. However, as you start to observe your child more often, you’ll begin to notice patterns or needs coming from those observations. Maybe you notice that everytime your child helps to wash the dishes, they end up dripping water all over their stool and it becomes slippery. After this observation, you may decide to provide them with a towel to mop up any drips or spills or it may be feedback that they need to be up a little higher, in order to better control their movements over the sink.
Have you taken the time to observe your child? What did you notice?