The work of the child is to understand his world through observation and thought and study. In our culture we don’t do enough understanding of the world through observation. We have this idea born from the boon of printed material that reading and being taught by a person in the front of the class is a better way to learn than observation and thought.* I know I’ve discussed this before. Dr. Montessori understood that children are part of the world and must observe the world and have time to do that. Sometimes their planned education is interrupted.
The other day BW and DW looked out their breakfast nook window and discovered that an orb weaver had built a giant web there. She had caught a bug. Their “lesson plan” went into the trash. They spent the morning watching her wrap the bug and dinning on it.
Last weekend we were moving our garden to the side yard when AV discovered a fire ant back door in the corner of one of the raised bed. I’d been discovering a larvae that eats oak roots in the soil we were moving. What is a teen aged boy to do? He dropped one larvae into the milling ants. We lay on our stomachs watching the attack. It was a bit disgusting after a while.
Then yesterday, mushrooms appeared on a stump in our yard. All work stopped again. JV whipped out the camera and looked and looked and looked.
Over at Montessori Muddle, there is a great illustration of allowing children to observe the world.
I believe that the fear of allowing children to be free range is creating a group of children who only learn through media based experiences and don’t know how to deal with the real world. This is worrisome.
* SMALL RANT: It is frustrating to think that one can understand the mysteries of God through an educational sermon. That a human can be “educated” to get God is difficult for me to stomach.