"Help me to do it for myself."
Every young child is endowed with great potentialities and within ALL life lies the capacity for growth driven from within by a vital life force from which French philosopher Henri Bergson coined the term 'Elan Vital'.
It is the work of every child to form, create or construct him or herself moment to moment, day to day, for every life unfolds and in doing so tells a unique story. All life does this through a relationship with their environment
We, as adults/parents and guides have the privilege of being able to witness, support (and be challenged/taught) by this profound process unfolding before our very eyes every moment of every day.
Every 0-6 year old child has what Montessori referred to as 'a great power of the age' in the absorbent mind, a mind, with the capacity to take experiences into a subconscious memory for life...not unlike a sponge or a camera capturing everything that can be seen through the view finder without discrimination.
This young, growing being feels, senses, sees hears....everything. Therefore, we are without doubt, one of the, if not the single most significant influence/resource in our children's early developmental life.
the early years experience
Our Chrysalis experience for families follows on from earlier work done with Michelle in the mammabearth space which provides the foundation for this next stage.
The 0-3 experience is a time for children and parents to become familiar with the prepared environment. Like all Montessori spaces, it is designed specifically for this age child supporting exploration, inquiry and importantly functional independence.
A parent attends with each child for these sessions...they provide a wonderful opportunity for parents/carers to make observations of -
their child navigating the space
themselves, their thoughts and feelings
the environment in general.
Observation is an art and it takes much refinement and practice to hone, it is however an invaluable tool for the collection of information. In addition to the gathering and collating what is observed, we must individually and collectively develop our capacity for interpretation which helps to be able to understand what our children want. (all behaviour is information)
Discussions at this stage also revolve around aspects that support our capacity to make unbiased, unjudgmental observations. We explore preparing oneself, the home and work to build a deeper understanding of the young child.
Sakura for many years has served as a 'preparatory' program. It sees a parent attend once a week with their child on a Saturday morning in the months leading up to the child's transition into the 3-6 environment (where they will commence attending alone).
The Sakura experience provides families with the opportunity to -
familiarise themselves with the 3-6 environment.
develop a rapport with the guides.
deepen their pedagogical understanding and the workings of the prepared environment.
build a bridge (& thus consistency) between home and school.
concretely script a narrative for their children that Montessori & the guides are becoming an extension of the home through collective involvement, sharing and learning.
continue the process for the child, of growing independence and for parents the conscious work/practice of standing back where possible...both of which will support and aid the impending transition.
refine their skills of observation that will serve them into the future.
Feileacan is Gaelic for butterfly and the name our prepared environment for children 3-6 years old.
This space/place is referred to as the Casa Dei Bambini or Children's House.
Montessori set out to prepare an environment that was an extension of the home or a 'home away from home', a place where children could continue to grow and develop physical/functional independence within a dynamic, mixed age learning ecosystem that can be accurately described as a microcosm of the world.
Within this space, day to day, these young sensorial learners make their way navigating the environment (inside and out) along with the people in it, making choices, exploring ideas, growing identity and self esteem based on the freedom and ability each child has to meet their own aspirations within a culture steeped deeply in reverence.