Charlotte Montessori Blog

The Importance of Allowing Problem Solving

As Montessorians we believe in allowing the child to grow naturally with the adult being a guide but the child learning through their own created actions. Problem solving occurs in all parts of the classroom. It occurs during social situations, completing a work, and even care of self.
Now that my class is finishing up their second cycle in the classroom, we are exploring solving new types of situations that we didn’t see much of when they were younger. When my children were young, I was by their side at times providing them with the words that they could use to express themselves to their friends. Now I have stepped completely back and my children are able to use long sentences when speaking to each other about how “they did not like that”. The importance of stepping back as an adult is huge, because the children are still running to me when upset, but I have already given them the tools so now it is time for them to use them.
As adults, we are quick to change something the child may have done wrong or do it for them so that we don’t have to hear the whine of “I can’t do it”. It is perfectly fine for a child to ask for help when it is apparent that they cannot complete the task without adult help. The situations where we do not allow for the child to try lead to them becoming less independent. Allowing for a child to try will happily lead to them finding out that they can do it! Patience is key when letting your child grow and learn.
There are several new infants and toddlers in my life now either through co-workers or family members. It is amazing to see all of the different stages each are going through in their lives already. We sometimes forget that we too went through those stages, but now we have them mastered so we need to give grace and support to those still learning. Natural, free movement, play is the safest way for a child’s body. A co-worker told me a story about her son learning that he needed to place is hands on the floor before moving off his mattress. He learned this through her allowing him to have those moments of failure, instead of picking him up and placing him exactly where he wanted to go. Knowing that he does not need his mother to move allows for his independence to grow already.
Through problem solving in our daily lives we learn independence, concentration, and the will to finish the task. This independence will help the child succeed in their lives for years to come. It can be hard to no longer be needed as the adult, because the child has now grown and we are still wanting them to need us. Remember that they still need your guidance and positive modeling every moment, but feel proud of their independence!