This month the teachers and I have been focusing on the development of independence in our children. In the upcoming newsletter we will soon publish, we have included examples of what independence looks like in a two year old, all the way up to our big six year olds, and how the Montessori environment supports the development of independence.
When I saw this photograph, as part of a whole sequence of photographs taken by my daughter on a recent backpacking trip, I began to think about what independence looks like in adults. I have three adult children, aged mid-twenties to early thirties, all Montessori school graduates. They are all strong independent thinkers, enjoying a good debate, whether in a class or around the kitchen table. Independence means you are not a follower.
My middle child is an avid explorer, enjoying backpacking in the wilderness, and traveling independently within the USA and abroad. She is a confident traveler, whether by foot, bike, kayak, and just recently, by sailing. Aware of her environment, respectful of the weather, animals, other people, she is confident of her skills. That’s all part of independence – respect, awareness and confidence.
Of course, just like parents of younger children, independence in our children can cause us anxiety! I worry about my child getting into difficulties on the Pacific Crest Trail, just as you worry when you see your child handling a knife, or scissors, or carrying a real glass. We don’t want our children to get hurt. But trust me, our children are capable of so much, and by giving them the gift of independence, we encourage them to live their lives to their full potential.