The Power of Observation
Other Good Things
The power of observation is one of the many key elements to a Montessori classroom. Children are free to observe their peers, in so far as they don’t interrupt their concentration, or otherwise disturb them.
What is observation? Observation is the ability to carefully, and attentively, take note of, or perceive an occurrence. Less specifically, it’s the opportunity to watch as an external process unfolds and develops.
So, what are the benefits to observation? Why are Montessori students allowed to watch their friends engage in activities? This line of thinking may seem contradictory to the traditionalists.
- First, and foremost, it offers children the freedom to engage with the classroom, to feel comfortable in the environment and in their abilities
- Second, and just as interesting, for many children, observation is a primary method of learning. Montessori allows this natural wherewithal to flourish.
- In a mixed-age classroom, younger students witness the activities and discoveries of the older students. They learn from their trials, successes and mistakes.
Children absorb what they experience, and subsequently go on to complete many tasks, without further instruction, working only from memory.
It’s also important to note that Maria Montessori considered herself an observer, a scientist of observation, and actually assigned this task to herself, and her Montessori teachers.
Our role, as teachers, then, is to observe the ways in which children learn, and follow their interests, so as to afford them an individualized, personalized education.
It’s the same with children. Everyone learns differently, and at their own pace. Some learn through direct action, others through instructions, still others, through observation.
The power of observation is robust. Montessori is here to accommodate that magic.
Written by:Baan Dek