Last week, a cousin of mine who is also a dear reader of this blog gifted me a book “The Absorbent Mind“, written by Maria Montessori. For most of you, this internationally renowned book needs no introduction. Others (like me) who can only relate the author’s last name to one of the most popular methods of child education, you and I guessed it right – the book describes the author’s in-depth work on early educational theory based on decades of scientific observation of children.
I haven’t read the entire book yet. The Absorbent Mind isn’t meant for an one-time speed read. A decent amount of the reader’s quality time is expected to be invested on a daily basis in order to reap the benefits and establish a deeper connection with the author’s ideologies.
Almost in all the chapters I have binge-read until now, Montessori stresses on the importance of granting independence to the children. Her major discoveries are related to a normal child’s development in the first six years of life.
Baby D has turned 1.5 years old today (God bless!). To mark the same in my sanctum, I will allude to Montessori’s noteworthy research-based discoveries concerned with toddlerhood, most of which are related to gross motor skills.
★ One and a half years is when the preparation of the upper and the lower limbs coincides.
★ 1.5 – 2 years of age is an epoch of development in which special care must be taken not to destroy the tendencies of life.
★ If one observes a child of this age, one sees that there are certain activities that the child sets out to do. To us they may seem absurd, but that does not matter. He must carry them out completely. There is a vital urge to carry out certain things and if the cycle of this urge is broken, the result is deviation and lack of purpose.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
★ In other words, do not sympathise or offer help when the child is in the middle of their own chosen cycle of activity. This seemingly tiny distraction could become a great repression of this age. The deviations of many ‘difficult’ children are traced back to this interrupted cycle in their childhood.
★ We must not make the child follow us, we must follow the child. Let the child walk and explore this world. We need to just supervise their actions but not change their track. This subtle act of offering independence could have a great impact in their character formation in adulthood.
★ The child at this age has his own laws of growth. We must not impose ourselves on him.
★ If independence is there, the child progresses very rapidly. If it is not there, the progress is very slow.
★The child who is capable of walking alone must walk by himself because all development is strengthened by exercise and all acquisition confirmed by the same.
“He can’t walk, we carry him; he can’t work, we do it for him; on the threshold of life we give him an inferiority complex.”
Being a toddler mom myself, I am positively overwhelmed by “The Absorbent Mind” for its unfailing guidance on parental self-improvement. The book celebrates the rawness of childhood; throughout the chapters I have gone through, the author insists upon studying the unexplored behavior of babies and young children in order to aptly facilitate (and not manipulate) their characterization. Though some of the above mentioned ideologies aren’t unfamiliar to me, the entirety of Montessori’s observation is a definite eye-opener to my ongoing tapestry of parenting.
I dedicate this article to all the contemporary toddler moms who, after reading this post feel, “Got it. I’ll do better hereafter.”
Click here to gain more insight on “The Absorbent Mind”