Self Construction and Independence in the YCC
by Jenny Wyrick
Young Child Community Teacher, Chesapeake Montessori School
There are moments when I look around my classroom and wonder about the future. Who will these children become? How will they contribute to the world? What will they be like as adults?
I know that there is only one person who holds the full responsibility for who this young child will become – that is the child herself. It is the child who will create the adult that is developing. What a wonder that is! Montessori tells us, “We must think of the child from the point of view of the miracles it accomplishes. No construction is greater than that which makes humanity.” (Montessori, 2012). Regardless of any situation for any child, within a few short decades he or she will have created an adult.
Above is a photo of Cooper using the Velcro frame. This activity isolates the task of learning to use Velcro, while also offering repetition and practice. Cooper is learning movement skills and developing his ability to concentrate, but also is gaining a skill which will transfer to his life. Soon he’ll be able to Velcro his apron when setting the table or take off his own shoes, and even help a classmate with their shoes. These moments of independence will give him an abundance of positive experiences as he develops all those skills we hope he’ll gain as he constructs himself. Plus, look how much fun he is having!
Now, it is useful to remember that the child does not create himself in isolation. He is part of a community and he resembles the community he is part of as he grows. Here is where our roles as parents and educators become so vitally important. We want to offer the child physical, social, and emotional environments that demonstrate the best we can provide, knowing that these contributions will support the young person’s development of herself as a truly amazing person. We know that the child has a strong drive for independence, from the 2-year old who wants to put on his own shoes (by himself!) to the adolescent who wants to complete that project in her own way, with her own time-frame.