Diego is 14 months old and loves exploring the garden. We are growing some dwarf peas and some heritage purple podded ones too. Now that they’re ripe, they dangle in the sun and warm breeze and surely they catch the eye of a toddler, especially the purple ones! So there he goes, pointing his finger, a smile in his eyes and reaching out to grab them (pretty much like me! Ahhh harvesting has to be one of the grandest joys of life!), so I hold the plant steady as he does that and immediately tries to munch on them. As the peas were smaller and fresher, he would eat them whole, but now he finds them too tough, so he usually hands the pods over to me. I opened up a few for him and went back indoors where he spent quite some time, concentrating on picking the single peas and eating them. What a feast for developing his fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination and pinch grip!
The role of manual work and the refinement of the movement of the hands that comes with it, should never be underestimated. Montessori knew this well and many of the activities that are presented to children in Montessori contexts are focused exactly on that. Grown ups should observe with awe the amazing ‘push’ for self-realization that is innate in our children and shows itself through the use of those little strong hands we love to kiss.
‘Let me do it by myself’ is one of the ‘mantras’ of Montessori approachand one I have definitely been trying to apply it with my son, Diego. Sometimes I forget and bite my tongue as I’m about to step in and ‘intrude’ in his activity but most of the time, I manage to step back and relax, admiring the amazing service that nature is rendering to our children.
It’s so true, sometimes us parents go crazy trying to come up with new activities for our children and then…tadaaah… the most captivating ones are literally just outside the door. Bonus? While he practises, I get to do prepare the peas for dinner… yum!
Peas, love and Montessori 🙂