The Montessori Method to Promote Creativity in Children
For a child all of life is an adventure in creativity. At times it can be based on simple doodles that adults don’t understand. The Montessori method suggests that before criticizing the quirky drawing, we should be able to give that “ray of sunshine” that every child needs, to then let them follow their own path. Allowing them to explore the world with freedom.
Daniel Goleman, in his book “The Creative Spirit” explains to us the case of a boy who at the age of ten said to his mother that he had to make a “scary short film” for school. The mother then bought cherry jam, of the reddest kind, and started to smear it on the furniture. Afterwards, she left a camera for the boy and allowed him to make his own filming studio in the living room. That child was Steven Spielberg.
It is a simple example that shows us the power that we can have as adults. We can serve to enable creativity and not stifle it. In most traditional schools the pleasure for learning is not encouraged. Instead, they inflict pressure and a search for perfection that drowns joy and fantasy.
Montessori method, fun schools that work
Near Milan there is a small school called “Regio-Emilia” that has been applying the Montessori method of creativity for over 40 years, as well as Piaget’s theory about the evolutionary changes in children. The results they have obtained are marvelous.
“The first task of education is to agitate one’s life, but letting it remain free so that it may develop on its own.”
Teachers and experts in education greatly value this center, known as “the fun school” or “the school of games.” Children from the ages of 2 to 6 go to this school, where they enjoy an enormous field for activities. They work outdoors and with a variety of materials. They draw, model, solve riddles, visit museums. Above all, they have their natural curiosity satisfied and boosted during this important period of their development.
An essential aspect of the Regio-Emilia school is the parents’ participation. This center was founded after the Second World War, in what was once an old movie theater. The families were very clear on what they wanted. They sought to give the world free children, capable of transforming reality. Because creativity, when it comes down to it, is the power to think freely while you have fun. That’s what the Montessori method is based on.
How to apply the Montessori method of creativity within the home
Surely more than once you have been amazed by the extremely weird drawings that your child or any other child has shown you with great pride. Our adult view is very limited and objective. We will rarely be able to understand why a person might have ten legs. Although the child could tell you that the person is dancing. We don’t understand why that day Dad is shorter than Mom. When maybe the child is a bit mad at his progenitor.
Far from criticizing the drawings of the child or saying something ironic about their crazy ideas. Far from cutting their wings off in order to tie them to the mast of logic and control, you must ignite their creativity even more. Tomorrow it will surely be a valuable weapon of power. Here we will show you how to achieve this.
The keys to maximizing a child’s creativity
The first thing we have to understand is that a child is not a small adult. However, they are professionals in experiencing and trying different things. Children are pros at making mistakes and learning from them. They can see the world as a game. We don’t want to make them grow up before they have to. Let them play, laugh, and discover the world with joy.
Understand that the biggest creative potential is found during childhood. Neurologists indicate that the brain waves of a pre-adolescent are richer in Theta waves than in an adult. These waves are associated with the ability to dream, create, innovate.
In order to nurture the creativity of a child, we must suggest things without exerting control. It will always be better to approach them through curiosity rather than “obligation.” At the same time, avoid criticism, comparisons or continuous observations signaling out only mistakes and not the virtues. This will offer the child an adequate sensation of freedom, security and pleasure.
The only thing that a child needs is to feel safe. He needs to see himself as a person free to explore the world. But he also needs to feel loved. These are all essential aspects backed by the Montessori method, where certain phrases will never fit. Phrases like “you can’t”, “you don’t know” or “you won’t get anywhere”.
We must avoid all this. You need to give them the encouragement and vital energy that only a parent’s sincere love and trust can provide for their children.