Step One: Observation
The first step in presenting any lesson is observation. First movement is observed - how a child sits, stands or moves across a room gives information on what a child is ready for. Child can’t sit for any length of time? Find an activity the requires the child to purposefully move around the room. Child still hasn’t mastered how to hold a pencil? Choose work that forces the child to practice “pinching”. Observation is also used to determine what sensitive period(s) the child may be in. Can’t lure the child away from the sensorial materials? She could be in the sensitive period for order -get your sensorial extensions ready to fulfill the need!
Step Two: Presentation
You’ve watched the child and know what lesson you want to give -it’s time for the presentation! In a classical presentation (or lesson) the teacher presents the materials, demonstrates the activity, puts away the material, rolls up the rug, then invites the child to use the material. A less formal method of presenting a lesson is to observe which materials the child is drawn to then give a lesson using knowledge of what the child is capable of doing.
The presentation itself is all about making a connection with the child and not about the content of the material. The goal is to make a positive experience between the child and the material. We share the fun and the pleasure of the work. After the material is presented, we watch to see what happens. If a child becomes engaged we leave. We also assume that the child won’t come back to us if they need help, so we make a point of checking in on the child. We lend a hand if they need moral support.
Step Three: Analysis
After the presentation comes the analysis. We ask:
- Is there a better way to present to this child?
- Did I show too much?
- Did I show too little?
- Will they repeat the activity?
Step Four: Observation
Then there is more observation. Does the child apply the experience? Will they do this activity with others? Is the child mishandling the materials to the point that useful exploration is finished? It is time to step in and invite the child to another lesson in order to redirect the child or even perhaps encourage the child to move on to different work. You can always represent another day!
When a lesson doesn’t work it could be that the timing was off and the child wasn’t ready for the material. It may be necessary to be inventive so that the lesson can be represented as often as necessary. It will be OK if not all your lessons are solid gold. Relax, because you never know when the child will surprise you several days later by perfectly performing the lesson. Or when other children will repeat the task by indirectly observing your presentation.
Pattern of Lessons