I have always encouraged independence in R(3). “Teach me to do it myself” is what Montessori is all about. Even before I discovered Montessori or Regio Emilia, or the term ”child-led learning”, I had always encouraged R to touch, to try, to do. No holding back. Or so I thought, until I read this post from Teacher Tom, about putting hot glue guns in the hands of 2 year olds (yes you read that right). Then there was this post, again from Teacher Tom – Two Year Olds With Hammers . Stumbling upon those posts was a turning point for me. As much as I had been trying to build confidence in R, I had never really let him take risks.
I was your typical helicopter parent, always hovering, ready to swoop in and rescue him from danger, but since reading those posts, I have learnt to take a step back. To let go. To trust.
I know these pics are not the best example of risk, since Mr Perfect Day is always there holding the power drill, and in the pic above, it is Mr Perfect Day who is most at risk of having his fingers hammered (what a brave man holding that plug like that!), but there was a time when the thought of putting a power drill or a heavy hammer in the hands of a 3 year old would have made me gasp. Now it seems perfectly ordinary.
We teach R to respect the tools he is using and tell him of the risks (always point the drill away from yourself and other people, don’t touch this end until the power has been turned off etc) Then we say “You can do this. We trust you”, rather than ”you are too little, you need to stand back and just watch”. By participating, rather than observing, he is learning that he is capable. By seeing the trust we have in him, R is learning to trust himself.