I love this picture for lots of reasons: because of who took it, the children in it and the fact that they are fascinated, not by me, but by what I am doing. (“What is she doing?, you ask. This is our little preschool “graduation”, and I came up with a metaphorical activity to try to show that we will never forget them. They add colored sand to a bowl of sand that we use every year. They have added their “color” to our memories of Mary’s School. What they love? Putting their hands in the sand. :))
I have had parents ask, in the grocery store: “Is this lady someone you would like as your teacher?” Oh, dear, what am I to say, or do, to deserve that? Children love attractive young people, and I am past that! Otherwise, I look like any other lady. What is there to love?
BUT, as when we go to Montessori training, they tell us that we are only 1/3 of the equation; it is: children, environment, teacher. Our main job is to set up the environment. If the environment works, the children are happy. It certainly has nothing to do with how I look!
So, the teacher sets up the environment (actually, Montessori called us “guides”, which is a cool term, but hasn’t caught on.), for safety, for interest, to stretch children, to entice them, to comfort them, to allow them to be together AND apart, to allow them to move, to have structure to give them support, to teach them how to interact, to allow them to take care of their own needs…lots of things to consider. So, if it doesn’t work, we move things around, take things away, have more lessons on how things work.
So, all the children came to sit with me to see what I was doing. That is how it works in a Montessori classroom: they want to be part of what is happening. They want it. We invite them, and they come. (And if they don’t want it, yet, they don’t have to do it. But that’s another story.)
And that is a different way of learning.