Do you observe your child? When I say “observing” I mean quietly and consciously watching your child during free play while you take note of his or her interests and behavior. Observing my toddler is a daily goal. I never would have thought of this if I hadn’t been studying the Montessori approach to learning. I know Montessori teachers at our school observe the children and take notes so why not try it at home?
After I’ve observed B for a while, whether inside and outside, I jot down things that struck me about his playtime. What was he MOST interested in? Why was it interesting to him? Was there a commonality to his play choices? Did he ask for any assistance? How long was he engaged in the activity? Was he talking to himself or quiet? Did he change the activity in any way? I also take note of the conditions – whether he was tired, at home, happy, etc. It has been the process of actually writing down what I see that has opened my eyes.
In the last week, I’ve noted that B gets really absorbed in small car play. He reenact stories from books that we read. He also likes to put things inside of other objects and watch them fall through, such as ball shoots or water funnels. He loves pushing the stroller around and doing most any activity around our home where he can “help.” With this information and other things I’ve observed, I can better pick out activities and toys for B. I can also better plan his day and help him when he seems frustrated or ready for something new. Essentially, it makes his and my life EASIER.