One question that parents often ask is “when should [I] join into a child’s play and when [do I] hold back and observe?” One of the fundamental Montessori tenets in a school setting is to provide large blocks of time for children to focus on their play or work. Montessori teachers learn the dance of stepping in when appropriate and holding back when it is not appropriate. Parents can incorporate these same strategies at home in order to provide opportunities for children to develop their attention span, internalize a new concept, or figure out a problem. As these opportunities increase children develop executive function skills of perseverance, organization, self-reliance, independence and joy in learning.
Long after my own children were fully grown, I learned that when they were small, I interrupted their learning many times. I wanted to join and spend time with them. I would also “change the play” so that it would be more educational – after all, I was a teacher! Dr. Lydia Soifer, one of our guest speakers informed a group of parents that the best way to join in play is to observe what the child is doing. Then sit down and wait to be invited to join. Do not change the play that is happening or you will interrupt the learning that is taking place.
Enjoy one of our vintage videos from Twin Parks Montessori Schools.