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Blog Post – Follow the Child

violet hay


By Jenn Wisdahl,  Posted January 27, 2016


This picture makes me smile.  My darling girl at school in the bright sunshine and fresh air, birds chirping, goats in the background.  Idyllic right?  But wait a minute…I’m paying private school tuition here.  Why is my child outside, during the school day, pushing a bale of hay? I don’t even think it’s recess! What about the 3 R’s, is she actually learning anything?  Will she be behind her peers?  What about university?   This doesn’t look like school to me.

Taking a step back however, I look again at the picture and here is what I see.  My child is strong, she’s learning to respect her body and what it is capable of far more so than by playing adult ran games in gym.  My child is smart, she’s figured out leverage all on her own by positioning her hands on the handles of the wheelbarrow and will remember that lesson far better than if she had listened to the theory and answered questions on a test.  My child is empathetic, she’s thinking about the care of the animals she’s moving the hay to.  In this one ungoverned activity of her own choice, she’s covering PE, Math and Science and retaining those lessons because she did them…all by herself.

Trusting that the child, this child who learned how to walk, speak and explore the world without formal instruction; wants to learn and is capable of doing so is sometimes hard for me.  In looking at this photo however, it reminds me that I need to trust her and create the environment where she is able to grow,  be herself and learn, just like she has been throughout her entire life.   This is why I pay the tuition, this is why I choose Montessori.

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” Maria Montessori

About the Author:

Jenn Wisdahl got into Montessori in her late teens as an onsite caretaker at Spring Valley School in Washington State.  She is now a Mom of 3 and works as a Human Resources Consultant to support her volunteer habit.  Most days, you can find her in the Roots and Wings office and on the weekends at Scout Camp.  Jenn and her husband Daryl are both vocal advocates of Montessori and Roots and Wings.

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