Friday, June 22, 2012
Spiritual Preparation of the Adult: Who Owns the Learning?
Who owns the learning that takes place in the environment?
We want the children to be responsible, to want to be responsible, for something which we put our heart into for their sakes - the environment and the learning that takes place within it.
It can be so hard to avoid turning into a dictator, even a loving, well-meaning one. When we see our children delve into an interest, most of us want to immediately own that interest, direct that interest, provide requirements for that interest. "Oh, my son, I see your passion for Ancient Egypt! I have this book I want you to read through, it has all sorts of Egyptian activities we can do together! We'll do these particular ones here and we'll have so much fun!"
That can turn out great - but it also takes away ownership of the interest from the child. What if the child really just wanted to study a particular area of the culture and create a timeline; but just wasn't yet interested in the art projects and activities? What if he would have gotten to it later in his journey of exploration and been thoroughly fascinated then?
There are times we provide requirements, and give new presentations regardless of interest (this is how a child discovers new interests), but if the passion is already there, we can strew materials, drop hints, provide ideas, and even minimal requirements, but the child should truly own this passion.
It is a tough balance. And there will be more Montessori Nuggets on this subject.
In the example above, we can make a discovery of the said book, "Look what I have found! I thought this might be of interest to you. I'd love to do some of the activities in it together if you'd like. Just let me know!" And let it go.
If it comes down an education requirement, then it should be discussed ahead of time as part of a work-plan, or just done as a group separate from the child's actual exploration and research.
It is the child's passion - let him own it.