We cannot create observers by saying “observe” but by giving them the power and the means for this observation, and these means are procured through education of the senses.
—Maria Montessori, physician and educator
Our days are filled with opportunities to observe children both formally and informally. We observe because we are curious about children’s behaviors and want to create meaningful relationships and connection with them. We also use observations to assess children’s development and provide responsive curriculum. But, do we observe ourselves? Do you take time to reflect on what you do, how you react to circumstances, and how you respond to others? Challenge yourself to be a neutral observer. This means being present to yourself in the moment, noticing your body language, tone of voice, any tension in your body, and what are you thinking. This internal dialogue is important to help you recognize what you bring to every interaction. Just as the goal of observation is to become a responsive teacher, observing ourselves gives us the information we need to help our responses become more meaningful.
In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday. Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education. She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.