You are a super model, did you know? In fact, if you are a parent, teacher, or child caregiver, you are one of the world’s most influential super models! What is she talking about, you might be asking? I’m talking about the importance of role modeling for our children. As Victoria Brailsford, Age of Montessori faculty member and Montessori teacher said during the recent AoM Live 2014!, “…children are natural mimics, and so we (adults) want to model mastery.”
This masterful modeling extends to things like finding happiness, respect for others and yourself, a love of learning, kindness and graciousness, in addition to more widely recognized measurements of success.
Becoming a model of mastery is part of the inner work and personal development it takes to be a Montessori teacher and is, therefore, an important component of Age of Montessori’s training course for teachers and parents.
“The real preparation for education is a study of one’s self. The training of the teacher…is something far more than a learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit.” ~Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind, p. 131
AoM teacher trainer, Susan Hoffman, coined the phrase ‘purveyor of magic’ to describe the role of the Montessori teacher. She explains that, with careful observation, adults can see where the child’s interests are. “Every kid has something they really love, and we may be baffled as to why they love this thing. In essence, we have to get over ourselves and get into what they’re into.”
Montessori teachers must carefully observe each child and present new lesson plans according to what they have seen the child doing, where their interests lie, and what they might be ready for next. The aim is to connect the child with his or her own, inner teacher. The teacher is the guide who helps the child find internal motivation for mastery.
During the recent Age of Montessori training intensive, one student asked the following question:
“My son is in a public school and he still loves learning […] but I have this fear that, at some point in time, he’s just going to be over it. As a parent, how do I make sure that I am helping burn that flame in him so that he doesn’t lose it as he gets older?”
“Observation,” answered Randall Klein, Age of Montessori Master Teacher Trainer. “Really observe what he shows interest in and […] provide lots of different experiences so that he can find something that sparks his deep interest [….] Then he starts to really learn how to learn. Your home will provide the answers [when you] model for him that you are a lifelong learner, that you pursue new interests of your own, and he is seeing you go for what you really want to do. That’s a huge lesson for a child.”
As parents, we all want our children to be successful, both in terms of accomplishment and independence as well as finding happiness. As Montessori teachers, parents will look to you to be these ‘purveyors of magic,’ to lead children along their path of development and, as Randel Klein puts it: “finding a way to entice him [the child,] include him, and to not let him off the hook. He’s going to learn and it’s going to be fun, he’s going to be successful, and he’s not going to fail.”
If you’d like a first-hand experience of this lively discussion, check out this informal video from the recent AoM Live!