Dear Mangrove families,
The struggle is real.
Think back on the greatest lessons that you have learned throughout your life. Lessons that made you stronger and more resilient. Lessons that made you learn something new about your capabilities. Lessons that gave you the opportunity to learn about the world around you.
All those lessons came easy, right? You set your mind to it and accomplished it like a piece of cake.
Wait, no one said that?
Upon reflection, are you realizing that anything worth learning, anything that taught you a lesson came with a bit of struggle? If it is easy, you didn’t really learn anything. When it was difficult and you had to work at it, you ended up growing, learning, and evolving into a better version of yourself.
We do that in the toddler environment EVERY SINGLE DAY. We provide experiences that require the children to push themselves, to struggle, to evolve with each new day.
Teachers like to refer to themselves as scaffolding and I quite like that metaphor. We are there to be a supporting structure but not to do the work for them. We want the children to do as much as they can with the least amount of adult inferences as possible. We are ready to support and guide when they need us but it comes with a lot of patience and restraint- a lot of retraining of ourselves and how we may have been taught what ‘help’ means.
Maria Montessori so eloquently wrote, “Help me do it for myself.” That is a guiding principle in Montessori education, to create the environment where a child has all the tools to complete the task independently, or as much as possible.
I challenge you do to the same at home and watch your children blossom. I know it is hard to watch your children struggle. We are hardwired to step in and shelter them from ‘pain.’ But I ask that you rethink it. Is it really pain they are experiencing? Often times, no, more like frustration or how about we call it growing pains. To learn and grow, we must step outside our comfort zone and do something we haven’t ever done before. And usually if given a little support and TIME, we can all accomplish the task and that goes for toddlers as well.
The end result is a goal that was earned and sense of pride that can’t be gifted. It builds perseverance and grit and confidence. If someone does it for you, you miss out on all the amazing accomplishments of that work.
So when your toddler struggles putting on pants- let them. They will learn something in the struggle.
When your toddler struggles placing a puzzle piece- let them. They will learn something in the struggle.
When your toddler is struggling to get a grape on a fork- let them. They will learn something in the struggle.
If you have more questions on how to support your toddler through the struggle, I am always available and open to talk more about Montessori philosophy and what we do inside the classroom environment and how to incorporate it at home.
Here is a link to an article on the power of the phrase “I did it.” Enjoy the extra read.
Ms Liz and Ms Yudis