What did your child do at school today especially those at preschool? You can try asking, but often they will say they did nothing or they “played”. Please believe me, your child is doing something. A lot of stuff, actually. But he may not remember “doing” anything at all that day. And his accomplishments often cannot be held in the hand or seen with the eye at pick-up time.
If he could tell you, it might sound like this:
“I concentrated today!
When someone asked to play with me, I said yes.
Aunt Titi (teacher’s name) taught us ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ today.
I served myself a snack, ate it politely alongside my friends, and cleaned up after myself.
I felt sad – just for a little bit – because I missed my mummy.
I waited for my turn on the swing.
I coloured a picture frog pink today
I counted 1-50’’
A preschooler’s greatest and most important work often doesn’t have any external product to show for it. Having and being a friend, acting out of kindness, demonstrating patience and self-control, taking care of oneself, feeling satisfied with a job well done – these things are all internalized. The children in our classrooms build their character and their understanding of the world every day, but they can’t always verbalize it. They are doing so much challenging work! But they do not yet see their actions and successes as separate from themselves.
Maria Montessori believed that the child reveals himself through his work, not through his outwardly visible successes and accomplishments. Every experience he has is internalized and becomes a part of his very being. She put it this way, “The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”
Stories from their day and recorded work, are parts of the child we can see and they might be pleasing to us, but they are only the product of an enormous amount of internal work. So please don’t worry when your child says she did nothing all day.
Nothing to grown-ups can be everything in the life of a child!