What did you do at school today? ‘i played’
No no, what did you do today? ‘i don’t remember!
What did you eat today? ‘i don’t know!’
Were you a good girl? ‘ huh huh”!
Did you learn anything new? ‘ No…’
The above sounds familiar to me,does it to you? Do you roll your eyes much like i do,or giggle when you see a parent struggle to illicit answers to their questions!
Many parents are curious to know why, despite a rich environment and best facilities, many of the children return home and cannot recount what it is they have done in a day! It is important to realize that for the very young child, it is difficult to both remember and recount their day. However, the inability to answer “what did you do today?” also illustrates the power of the Absorbent mind, a power bestowed upon the child by nature Although any one child may have a day as described in his daily routine or by the adult in the class…the simplicity of the day belies the richness of what the child has absorbed from the environment. Though he/she may have been working on one piece of material, all around him/her children were working or quietly conversing, the directress was giving a lesson, a small group was happening in the corner, and outside sun played hide and seek The child between birth and six does not process these events serially as we do. Rather, the entirety of their environment is captured by the absorbent mind- almost as a photograph. Thus the child working on one piece of work,an activity though his conscious mind may be incredible focused on that work, is actually absorbing a wealth of experiences that we cannot even describe- and neither can the small child.
Montessori trained teachers are traditionally referred to as “directors” or “directresses” since “teacher” implies that the adult is bestowing knowledge on the child. In the Montessori environment, the trained adult is there to assist the child in the natural unfolding and development of his self. We therefore use the term “directress”. or just the term ‘adult’ in a case specific setting.