The World of the Child

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"Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe...for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity." Maria Montessori Aline Wolf’s fable for parents, The World of the Child, is a beautiful illustration of what happens when adults are disconnected from the perspective of a young child. The story starts with a family waiting in line at an amusement park. The father is growing increasingly impatient with his 2 year-old Son. He is exasperated by what he feels to be irrational and un-coordinated behavior on the part of the toddler. He decides to take a stroll and meet up with his family later. He ends up climbing up giant stairs and entering an "enchanted" apartment in which the furniture and the people are gigantic, thus experiencing the world from the perspective of a small child. Wolf wonderfully describes his frustration as he tries to reach for door handles, climb steps and feed himself. The adult's movements seem abrupt and startling to him as he gets lifted up from the floor and plopped into the high chair. As he tries to pour the milk into the bowl, he spills the bottle and gets reprimanded.

Wolf highlights the briskness with which most adults treat children, often without realizing it, picking them up without notice and putting them down without explaining what is going on. As teachers and as parents, we must remind ourselves to slow down, to pause, to explain to the child what will happen next and to wait for their response, making them active participants, instead of passive recipients, being carried from one place to the next and from one activity to the next, without feeling they have any self-authority and will.

--Nina RamPrakash Kaur

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