I drive out in the morning to reach the House of Children on time. It is Monday morning and I feel I have extra emotions for the children, emotions that I have collected over the weekend. My heart smiles aloud and I cannot hide my excitement. My mind goes back to all that I have planned for the hours I will spend with the children.
I think of one of the children who had a hard time winding up and tell myself – “I should find a way that will work for him, so that he knows he should wind up each activity before reaching out for another.”
I think of another child who had tears in her eyes, not sure why. I remember I did not speak much with her. Maybe she likes that little extra attention.
I remember one who is always talking about automobiles and thinking – “the picture cards with name slips for transport vehicles would work well with him. Maybe he would like to repeat this activity. It should be appealing to him, since he loves cars, sure to meet his inner need.”
I thank myself for some of them who enjoy the napkin folding and pouring activities…. I feel a sense of gratitude towards the experienced adults in the team at Prayag have helped me with my work in the past few months since I started working with children.
And so, what I share here would be from somebody who is new to this field of “practicing Montessorean”. Some of the experiences, maybe most of them, would be similar to those of other fellow Montessoreans. However, the thoughts and perspectives may be a little varied.
I find my new role as an adult in the House of Children very endearing and in some ways I feel it is like being in love. No matter what happens to me when I am there, I am always in a state of immense attraction towards my work there and seem to be thinking of the children I work with, all the time. It is like a backdrop in a theatre play. Although my attention is towards other activities when I am done with work for the day at Prayag, I remember the day, the smiles, those eyes, the walk, their talks……all the time…
Each time I sit on the mat with a child, I think of the “right way” to make a connection. I know that is the moment when nothing and no-one else exists between us – the child, the material and myself. I have realized that reaching a child’s mind and helping him to build that relationship with the material he is working with is an immensely thoughtful process for an adult. I do not wish to claim that I am successful, but I know that I am learning.
It is probably like reaching a destination taking different routes. If I wish to travel from Bangalore to Chennai, there are several options – by air, train, or road. On the road, the routes are so many and the reasons for taking one or the other mode of transport, or one or the other roads really depends on the individuals who are travelling. Of course, sometimes, despite all this preparation and careful implementation of the plans, we could still get delayed or stuck in some unforeseen hurdle.
Reaching a child’s mind is simple, yet tricky. Each of the children we work with is Universal in several aspects – mesmerizingly innocent, incredibly honest, unconditionally loving and for the most part, vociferous about it. Yet, each one is special because of the unique personality he/she possesses. This is a manifestation at a very early age. Maybe that is the reason the Montessori Method focuses so much on the individual needs of each child.
Every child who is with me is the world to his/her family, just like my own children are my world at home! Having this thought in me makes me want to do only what is expected of me.
In this enchanted way, I tread carefully, under the guidance of my own conscience and the experience of many around me. My prayer is that I always remember the oath I took and serve the child, as I should.
Mrs Pushpa Sundar
(This Article was written by Mrs. Pushpa Sundar when she joined Prayag after completing her course from IMTC. Through this article she has expressed and shared her experiences. This article was published in ‘Follow the Child’ magazine.)