Problem-solving is one of the most crucial skills a child can learn. It’s the foundation for basic decision-making, critical thinking, and creativity, affecting the quality of your little one’s relationship with others and their success later in life.
While we almost always find ourselves in problem-solving mode, most children and adults struggle with this crucial skill. The Montessori approach to education places problem-solving at the forefront of the classroom, but how can you apply this at home?
Here are a few ways to encourage your child’s problem-solving ability, the Montessori way.
Fostering A Sense of Independence
Every parent hates to see their child struggle, but stepping in to solve their problems could set them back when learning to problem-solve independently. The Montessori approach to education emphasises cultivating independence within your little one, and this allows children to identify and tackle challenges independently without the help of a teacher or parent. It’s important to remember that within Montessori, there is a clear distinction between guiding the child and simply solving the child’s problem. It may take a little practice and patience, but try not to offer your little one immediate help as they learn to improve their problem-solving skills on their own.
What’s The Problem?
The first step to ensuring your child can problem-solve on their own is to help them identify what the problem is. This is done by allowing your little one to label the problem. If they’re struggling to find the words, you can help them out. Try to make sure your child is doing all the talking while also ensuring they brainstorm possible solutions to their problem. Do this by prompting them with questions that encourage them to think about how they can solve the problem.
As a parent, you’ve probably been hit with the “why” or “how” questions. It’s only natural for children to ask these questions as they become curious about the world around them. However, society will have you believe that parents and teachers are only there to answer these questions and not ask a few themselves. When trying to encourage your little one to problem-solve independently, asking questions is helpful. Instead of answering their question, try and pose your own question, which will encourage them to problem-solve and find their own solution. “Which part do you find difficult?” Or “What do you think about that?” are just a few examples you can use.
Create the Perfect Environment
Within Montessori, the prepared environment is essential to ensuring your child hits those important developmental steps. A great way to develop your child’s problem-solving skills is by providing them with Montessori activities that challenge them. You want to find activities that suit their development, interests and skill set but that don’t leave them feeling frustrated. This approach will foster both growth and perseverance, ultimately cultivating effective problem-solving skills, all while preventing any feelings of disappointment or frustration.
It’s Not About The End Result
As humans, we’re wired to focus on the result rather than the effort. However, when we do this, it can have a detrimental effect on your child’s development and teaches them to seek external validation instead of simply enjoying the learning process. After all, it’s the journey, not the destination! When you change your perception and focus on your child’s effort instead of the end result, you are providing them with the confidence they need to try new and challenging things.
Turning Problems Into Problems To Solve…
The Montessori approach to problem-solving provides a beautiful mix of independence, hands-on learning, critical thinking and teamwork. Whether they’re pouring, pondering, or collaborating with friends, you can rest assured that your little ones will have the necessary tools in their problem-solving toolbox.