Friday, March 20, 2009

Thank you for my eyes.

In one of my books recently, there was a line that has stuck with me all these days. I like it so much. "When the mind is calm, like still water, you can see clearly." I think this idea applies to observation in the classroom. When I am calm and present, I can really see what is happening. I had a moment of synchronicity with a child, through the environment, and it made me so happy today.

I have been observing/enjoying N's explorations with the metal insets. She works carefully and for long stretches of time with one shape, placing it in different ways on the paper and creating new shapes. Then there was a lull in the work! "Oh no!" I thought, "It's over!" Her work had been inspiring others to try new variations with the metal insets and I wanted to see if this work could be extended. I made a set of variations myself, laminated them, and placed them in a basket on the metal insets cabinet. I made them for N but wanted to see if she would find them herself and if they would move her into more in depth work with the metal insets. They were on the shelf about 20 minutes before N found them, leafed through them, came running to me- "I want to do this!" And then inscribed circles in squares, and ellipses in the circles, shaded and drew lines. To watch her relishing in the work, matched perfectly with her level of interest was incredibly satisfying to me.

My endeavors to start these kinds of explorations are not usually as overtly successful as today's. I am grateful for my eyes!

1 comment:

P.S. Montessori said...

Oh my gosh, I had a similar experience with one of my children. The other day, she asked me how to make a star. This was completely out of the blue. I asked her to get the Metal Insets and I told her a story about how when I was little, I asked the same question to my father. He showed me how to make a star with two triangles (kind of like the star of David). I demonstrated with the Metal Insets, and encouraged her to turn the triangle at other points to see what would happen.

She made a many pointed star, filled in each shape within the star with a different color, and then asked for scissors and a string. I wasn't sure what she was doing, but decided to let her explore. She cut the star out, made a hole in the paper, threaded the string and made a necklace. I have never shown her how to make a necklace or even suggested it to her. I love when children take your extensions and run with them!