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Follow the Child

This is a common phrase in a Montessori environment. This refers to the child learning form their interest, learning at their speed and understanding the child's developmental needs. Understanding the child requires observation of the child, a conversation with the child's caregivers and maybe some research on the child's background. This will allow the guide/teacher to provide a curriculum that meets the child's needs at a specific time. The more the adult understands the child the more beneficial the child's education will be. Observation allows the guide to see what the child is gravitated towards in The Montessori environment. This could be certain materials, a specific area or even which classmates the child would prefer to work with or around. The materials the child chooses to work with frequently can be a key to where the child is developmentally. For example, if a child is continues to take out art supplies (drawing media, sculpting clay or paint) then make art accessible in every area (Science, Language, Mathematics and etc.) for the child. This also applies to interest outside of the classroom like sports. A child who continues to talk about baseball will benefit from a lesson naming all the objects in baseball (bat, glove, bases and etc.). Also, a lesson involving numbers can be taught while looking at different teams baseball jerseys. A child can learn academic lessons while studying specific interest. 

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