March-27-2012-061-150x150

This is the key that can change everything: “Create the environment that inspires the child to concentrate.” This means creating the physical, mental, emotional, and social environments which, more than anything, DO NOT IMPEDE the child’s natural tendencies to learn and explore.  (This is Montessori’s most all-encompassing principle.)

For a small child, this first means “baby-proofing”, so that the child can move freely and safely about in the home as much as possible. It means creating the baby’s environment so that when she first pulls herself towards one of the few fascinating household objects you have carefully placed in her environment, she hears, “Yes, that’s for you to explore!” rather than “Don’t touch that!”

The 0-6 year-old, in the sensitive period for order, is reassured by a regular schedule, and an ordered environment. Forming his view of the world, he is thrilled by the knowledge that the bucket belongs HERE, hats are for wearing outside, and we eat breakfast after getting dressed.

For both young children and adolescents, creating the environment means providing a clean, uncluttered place to work, as much as possible, and providing real and meaningful materials that fascinate the child and inspire challenging yet achievable work.

As elementary-aged children develop interests in science or history, it means providing opportunities to acquire books, meet experts, explore rivers, see plays, or listen to music that is related to the interest.

It means thinking of yourself more as a support person than a director of your child, from the earliest days. Your child will always, from birth, let you know what he or she needs to learn if you observe first, rather than instruct. Your role is to create the environment that supports your child’s natural development.

In creating an environment that supports fascination and concentration, you allow the child the maximum opportunity to be calm, confident, cooperative, and joyful – all of which combine to inspire a child that enjoys the process of becoming self-disciplined.

Good frustration comes as you overcome challenges as you learn something new. Bad frustration happens when learning is impeded.

Children raised this way “obey with joy” (most of the time), because a child who is allowed to do her work, and to follow her internal drive to learn, may have lots of “good” frustration, which comes from learning something new and difficult.

But, the child has very little “bad” frustration, which impedes learning. A great majority of “bad” frustration is brought on by well-meaning “helpful” adults, who tie shoes, clean up messes, wipe noses, tell the 6-12 year-old what to do with the dollar they find on the street, or otherwise interrupt the child’s efforts to act in the world.

If we listen closely, we can recognize the child’s actions as saying, “Help me to do it by myself.” (~Maria Montessori)

So, that’s it – so simple!  Most parents don’t realize the importance of intentionally structuring the child’s environment to inspire concentration. When you do, it can change everything.

If you want help creating the environment that will inspire your child to concentrate, become more peaceful, and build self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth, call me to see if coaching might be a fit for you.  I’d love to support you in supporting your child…403-607-1463.