By Laura Hosek, M.Ed., Primary Guide, Upper West
It’s been a strange couple years for everyone, everywhere across the sphere we call home. Humans have been stretched and balled, left to rise, deflated, then molded into an adaptive new. I’ve been baking a lot on the weekends— it’s fun and sets up a beautiful analogy…
We, adults, are much like bread in the oven: while still a bit pliable and a few tricks can work to keep us changing in the direction we prefer, but all in all: we’re set. Children? They’re the yeast. And the Montessori environment is like a warm bath with a teaspoon of sugar. Whisk it together, and you’ve got a good reaction. It’s just the beginning…
“A child’s type of mind is an absorbing mind: it absorbs whatever is around it. An adult’s mind elaborates. We call the child’s mind the absorbent mind. It is a mind endowed with special psychic powers, which we lose later, because whatever we adults want to acquire we have to acquire with effort and fatigue.” – Maria Montessori, The 1946 London Lectures, p.65
In our little bubble, this time of year is quite thrilling. The children have internalized a rhythm, awakened a drive to learn, and fulfill this desire with such innate passion a room full of children becomes nearly silent… only the hum of brains; the hand doing it’s work. The child becomes the master of their educational journey, whether it be as simple as touching a friend’s shoulder in attempt to retrieve help, or tackling three more division problems, because, golly— there are so many essential division combinations and we’ve got to space it out.
If we wish to be the interpreter for the child, we must realize that we are studying an unconscious phenomenon. Before consciousness arrives, there is great activity and work in the unconscious. The child is unconscious but has great ability and power.” – Maria Montessori, The 1946 London Lectures, p.62
What we are starting to see right now in the primary classroom is normalization. Those quiet moments of engagement, happy choices, observing with keen interest, the begging of further study, sharing and collaborating— a community of children, built and supported by each individual, creating a beautiful melting pot of humans learning in unison. It’s breathtaking.
“In our specially prepared environments we see them all at once fix themselves upon some task, and then their excited fantasies and their restless movements disappear all together; a calm, serene child, attached to reality, begins to work out his elevation through work. Normalization has been achieved. “ – Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, p.162
The most content moments of a workday, for us adults at Raintree, are working with the children. Hearing a joyous squeal of discovery, guiding a lesson at exactly the right moment, mediating a squabble, holding a hand, taking a walk, and just chatting. Raintree sparkles for a reason, and it’s the children.
“There is a vital force in every human being which leads them to make ever greater efforts for the realization of individual potentialities. Our tendency is to realise them. Joy and interest will come when we realise the potentialities are within us.” – Maria Montessori, The 1946 London Lectures, p. 89.
Keep rising, friends. We’ve got this!