First steps in the world of alternative pedagogies
When we start to take an interest in the different pedagogies related to education, one of the first observations that we can make is that some pedagogies have very strict frameworks or that they have spiritual bases that do not reach us. not.
Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner, for example, were born in 1870 and 1861. The reality there was very different from today. Personally, I chose to put the pedagogies into practice with a more flexible approach: I take what works for me, what makes sense, what is related to my knowledge. I keep an open mind of course, but I think it is important to remember that the educators who reflected them did so with the reality of their time. There are schools and environments that take the principles more strictly, but several have given it a modern touch and / or should rather bear the name inspired by.
I wanted to make this point, because I rather belong to the second category. I see it as an asset to have access to a range of possibilities to choose what is right for my family and my childcare service.
First steps inspired by Maria Montessori
Fostering autonomy and giving importance to practical life activities, these are the first two principles that have hooked me in Montessori pedagogy.
In terms of fostering independence, a large part of the work lies in the development of the living environment. In Montessori language, we will say of the environment that it was prepared for children. One of the first things I did was find ways for my daughters to be independent in the different rooms of the house. I put hooks at their height in the hallway to hang their coats, used extension cords for the light switches, and revised the layout of the toys.
Then the adult should be ready to act as a guide. Rather than doing things for the child, he accompanies him. At first, you may feel like you spend a lot of time repeating basic routines since the child has a lot to learn, but quickly you can see the positive effects of being empowered.
Rather than a toy box, shelves or cube storage allow toys and equipment to be placed so that they are clearly distinguishable from one another. The child benefits from this type of storage, since at a glance he has an overview and can select what interests him. We will also make sure that we only have material that meets the child's current needs and levels of development. To do this, the principle of toy rotations is very useful (we serve the toys to leave only a few out, and we make changes as needed).
Traditionally, activities of daily living such as pouring a glass of water, getting dressed, opening containers are everyday skills that are usually displayed on trays. These skills are broken down into stages in order to be acquired gradually and step by step: from the easiest to the most complex. For example, pouring water, sorting, opening and closing then screwing and unscrewing, cutting, dressing (using buttons, velcro, zipper). These must first be presented to the child in order to show him the correct way to use each tray.
Personally, at home, many of these activities take place in everyday life rather than being offered on stage. I invite my children to sweep when they are doing a messy activity, helping to wash the dishes or cleaning the mirrors. However, I do use the trays for some skills because they really appeal to children. This way of presenting activities is definitely one of Montessori's strong points. Over time, these skills, learned in isolation, contribute to children's autonomy.
Interesting fact: Children between 0 and 6 years old would be in the sensitive period of tidying up and tidying up. A sensitive time, in short, is a time that all children seem to go through at different stages of their lives. There are several sensitive periods dealing with different things. The child will then have a strong interest in this skill, then it will be acquired and the interest will decrease. Many moms (myself included) have anecdotes about their child who at one point was very keen on putting things in their place. A sensitive time, that's exactly it. It is therefore in this logic that we will give importance to the child growing up in a clean and orderly play space: allowing him to meet this need that the objects of his daily life have an assigned place.
This is how I took my first steps in alternative pedagogies, but it was far from over.
Signed Five minutes to play - Zoé L. Sirois