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Today has been hard. I had a plan but the plan did not pan out. We’ve ended up having lots of impromptu activities that have actually been great. Sometimes it’s good to accept that not everyone is in the right mood (me included) and to go with the flow. My main aim is to follow the children and that was what we did today.
I will not pretend that this was easy. That it was a lovely calm atmosphere. It wasn’t. I had to check myself many times to just let it go and allow them the space and freedom to do what they needed to at that particular time.
We are very lucky to have a field at the back of our house that we own. It is woefully overgrown but actually means that Joseph and Alice are wading through head high grass, finding mini beasts and pretending to harvest wheat and barley. There have been very impressive combine header changes, blade sharpening and testing to see if the wheat is dry enough to cut…
Today they wanted to harvest all the field, “right up to the tree!” They are still not 100% comfortable in their environment and needed me to go with them so I found myself wading through grass with a baby on my hip. We managed to get all the way to said tree but it was hard work and I wasn’t feeling it. They, on the other hand, were having a great time rolling around and pretending to cut the grass (sorry, wheat and barley!). They were free to explore their interests and also gave them a great opportunity for maximum effort pushing their way through the mounds of tough grass.
When we came in I realised we’d been out for much longer than I thought and it was time to cook dinner. Joseph began to explain that he wanted to cook “mansa”. I had no idea what this was or what his vision was for the meal. He got very frustrated trying to explain to me what ingredients we needed and the method because I didn’t understand what the meal actually was and wasn’t prepared for him taking over the kitchen and cooking. Again, big breath. I knelt down and let him talk through what he wanted to make. It was actually a fantastic recipe of chicken with garlic, curry powder and herbs on brown rice with a yoghurt and mint sauce. He set to work mixing and cooking whilst explaining what he was doing as he went. He gave Alice the job of prepping salad and I was asked to lay the table. I helped with a few things when he asked but otherwise I observed as he created a tasty, healthy meal for us all…and he is only four.
He asked if he could have the big serving bowl so everyone can help themselves. It was genuinely very tasty and this was his brother’s reaction:
I am glad I stopped and allowed them the space to follow what they wanted to do today. It would have been easier to tell them to play inside of go and read while I prepared dinner but the learning that came from these impromptu activities was beyond what I was preferring to offer.
I am grateful that following a Montessori method from babies has meant that they are able to do this at such a young age. Having a prepared environment means that they have independence.