Get out of your child’s way

I think one of the key things I learned about raising and teaching a child is that I, as an adult, get in the way more than I do help. I see it at home with my own child, and I see it with the kids I work with as a classroom assistant. The best thing I can do is provide an environment that works with my kid and not against her. They’re like seeds: you can’t tell them how to sprout or grow, you just have to give them the best chance of thriving and let the built-in mechanics do the rest. Maria Montessori referred to this mechanic in children as the “inner teacher.”—she believed that children have an innate need and desire to learn and they don’t need us to force them to sit down so we can fill them up with information, like an empty vessel.

Play is the best work for them. It’s interesting to put them in an environment designed for them and stepping back, quietly observing them as they become engrossed in their work. I’ve been told before—jokingly—that I had no boundaries when it came to kids, and I can see how that looks from the outside looking in, but I just…like to stay out of my kid’s way. Our rules are that anything is allowed as long as: you’re not risking your life, you’re not hurting others, you’re not imposing on someone else’s enjoyment, and you’re not destroying property. That’s it.

I feel like I’m rambling and I haven’t quite gotten to the point. There’s a “So what?” dangling in the air, but my goal is to sit down and write and let it be as bad as it needs to be. I just need to leave this where it is for now.

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