Do you know what I have in the pocket of my apron in my class? A handy dandy notebook! Yes, good old fashioned paper and pen.
Today I wanted to share with you a quick tip I use all the time as a Montessori teacher.
The notebook is most helpful for me to make notes for things I need to remember, I can tear out a piece of paper to write down something for a parent, but most importantly, I use my notebook to make a child feel HEARD.
Let me give you an example. A child doesn’t want to leave class. They are holding on tight to the horse from the farm. And their parent needs to get going.
I get down to their height. At that moment they are usually feeling a little emotional so I connect first with empathy, right brain to right brain* (thanks Dan Siegel). “You really wanted to play with the horse? I can see it’s hard to let him go.” I wait to see the child relax a little.
Then I move to acknowledging this feeling by writing it down. Sometimes I attempt to draw a picture. And I talk as I write, “you really want to play with the horse. There. I’ve written it down.”
Then I tear out the paper and hand it to the child, “Shall we swap? I’ll give you this paper and then next time you’ll remember you really want to play with the horse.”
And many times that is it. They take the piece of paper and give me the horse. I’ve even had a time when a child did remember to bring it with them the following week.
Why it works?
When I write something on paper, the child really knows I’ve heard them. Their feelings are valid. I’m allowing all their feelings, even the bad ones.
Writing it down makes it feel important. We are equal in that moment. I’m not trying to make anything happen. No manipulation. No tricks.
Just listening. And writing it down. Really listening to them.
Not surprising then, with my love of notebooks, that my blog is called The Montessori Notebook eh?
* for more read, “The Whole Brain Child, by Dr Dan Siegel”