From the vantage point of a doctoral student in education leadership and policy, as well as a teacher at a public Montessori, I'm learning and sharing as I go. This is my space to explore the child's interior life, our discoveries as educators, and work of learning together.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Three Aspects of Independence for Early Childhood, for the Primary Classroom
Functional independence is taking care of
oneself, taking care of the environment, and in interactions with others.
Intellectual independence, on the other hand,
is developing one's mind through one's own experiences, not through the
experiences of others. It is composed of the ability to classify and
categorize, the discriminate the relevant from the irrelevant, and to master
the tools of learning. The child's learning happens best through her own
Emotional independence is the sense of
developing one's own identity. The child learns to engage emotionally with the
"other". She learns to act altruistically toward the other. She
learns to share emotions and ideas with the other. She develops empathy toward
the other. It is connected to the knowledge that everything I do contributes to
the life of the community.
In the trajectory,
it is the child's experience and learning that leads to independence.
Understanding this trajectory, our role is to facilitate that independence.
Furthermore, independence is not a static goal, but it is a continuous conquest
in order to reach not only freedom but also strength. In the words of Maria
Montessori, the work of perfecting one's powers is following the path of
Montessorians, we sometimes fail with giving children the opportunity to use
the skills they have gained as a contributing member of that community. Work is
the experience of exerting her powers, with the independence that she has
gained. Development does not happen spontaneously; it is a product of
experience in the environment. The child's independence will come from work, to
perceive it from her own independent efforts.