Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Building Confidence in Children

Last week, I started working in my classroom to get prepared for the new school year. Luckily, one of my students and her mom came in to help. Since I teach at a public Montessori school and Montessori classroom are multi-age, I teach 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders, and I get to work with each child for three years.

The student asked what she could do to help, so I directed her toward our classroom vacuum cleaner. After she had vacuumed for several minutes, I informed her that she might want to empty the vacuum soon, especially if she noticed that it wasn't picking up as much stuff anymore. She then asked me how to empty the vacuum cleaner. I could have easily told her how to do it, but, instead, I seized the opportunity to emphasize a really important lesson. I said, "You know, when I don't know how to do something, my brain makes a guess and I try it out. If it doesn't work, I come up with another guess and try that one out. Why don't you make a guess and try it out?"

Of course she was able to figure it out after a few different tries. I'm convinced that these kinds of lessons are invaluable, and that we have to consciously teach them to our children in order to cultivate their confidence and their willingness to take risks, make mistakes, and figure things out.

It's so much easier to do things for children. It's often faster and less messy, and it also fills a deep psychological need to be needed. But we don't want our children to be dependent on us to do things for them that they can do for themselves. When they do for themselves, they build their sense of self-worth. They build real confidence. We can't truly build their confidence by telling them they are smart or that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. We have to provide them with opportunities and experiences that allow them to realize those things about themselves.

Share |


Mia said...

Really nice.

bklyn76 said...

i found your blog through *progressive pioneer* and am so excited to *meet* another lower elementary montessori teacher! i wish toronto had public montessori programs.

Mountain Mama Jody said...

I completely agree with you! I am a preschool teacher in Colorado, and I totally believe in this philosophy. I also LOVE your blog, I just discovered it. My husband and I are just beginning to try and conceive, so your blog makes me so happy! I also tend to over worry and over stress myself and after reading your honest, wonderful words, I feel like I am not alone! Thank you :)

Mrs T said...

Hopped on over from Angie's blog. When we have kids one day I'm hoping to send them to a montessori school. You sound like a wonderful teacher.

Related Posts with Thumbnails