Why we ‘Follow the Child’
‘Follow the child’ is at the very heart of Montessori education and really explains why it’s such a successful method of education. A common misconception is that a Montessori child is ‘just allowed to do whatever they want’, which is not at all what ‘follow the child’ means. Rather, it recognises that each child has a different rhythm and approach to learning. By observing this in each child, our Directors can take into account what the child’s interests and needs are at a particular point in time and use that to guide their exploration of the curriculum, rather than insisting rules about the best time to learn each component. Thus, if a child is thoroughly absorbed in mathematical activity, they are allowed to explore it for as long as their interest is held. Likewise, if a child becomes bored with an activity, little will be gained by forcing them to continue; much better to allow them to choose work that will totally engage them!
Record keeping of the children’s activities is therefore very important, as the Director must ensure that each child does cover the full curriculum. In Cycle 2 and Cycle 3, the Director will also involve the children in this recordkeeping and together they plan and track everything the child needs to accomplish.