The glory of art and craft. Don’t ignore it.
This child is a beautiful seven-year-old who is very caring and intelligent. She has delayed development, her mental age could be as young as a 4/5 years old but she is on par in her emotional and social development. She shows less interest in academic work and her handwriting is of a 3/4 year-old child. Hence, the only thing that can occupy her for hours is art and craft and Practical Live/Sensorial activities. She was born with brain of the size of a pea, and doctor didn’t give her parents much hope of her survival. Now, she goes to a mainstream primary school without any learning support there. She goes for speech and occupational therapy at a private therapist’s centre. She has temperamental and anger management issues especially when she doesn’t have enough food and sleep. However, when I am attending her, I treat her with respect, patience and care. I respect her needs and attention. I try not to give too much attention to her qualms and tantrums. I want to show to her that every child is treated with equal care and love. I don’t tease her because she is still learning how to differentiate playful and serious tease from adults. Remember she still acts like a toddler. I talk to her like an adult and I tell her what is the right thing to do and what can she do. My purpose is that she learn to be an independent child in managing her physical, emotional and social needs. Homework or school work is not the priority although I give lessons on academic subjects according to the school’s syllabus.
This child and I did this work together when I met her the first time a few months ago. I knew she was ‘special’ when I first saw her, and thanks to the voluntary experiences I had with people with special needs, I did not felt threaten by or afraid of her disorderly behaviour. Again, I respect her as another human so I talked to her with care and love. My instant treatment was Practical Life (dry and wet pouring), playdough and art and craft. I drew a big heart, cut out hearts of different colours and invite her to paste the hearts along the line of the heart. When she’s tired of doing that, I drew a picture of her and invited her to colour it. Then , I invited her to draw a picture of her mum!
I can list an array of wonders of fireworks that are happening between her brain neurons, such as:
- developing eye-hand coordination when arranging the hearts side by side.
- mastering the skill of applying glue (not too much, not too little). A lot of very young children are not getting this type of exercise when sticking shapes onto papers
- expressing ideas about a person’s body when she was drawing her mum. She had to retrieve from her working memory how her mum looks like.
- articulate clear speech, which she is still practising wholeheartedly. Nowadays, she looks at my mouth very closely.
- strengthening muscles through sitting position. She has weak leg muscles and likes to sit in frog-like position. I have to keep reminding her to cross her legs and sit up straight.
- listening and following instructions, which a lot of children find it difficult to comply to, unless when there’s a heap of play dough on the tray.
- She can also cut along shapes or pictures, but lack the patience and determination to follow through until the end. This is why the cycle of activity and work cycle is utmost important in a Montessori classroom.
Are there any more benefits you can yield from the photos below? Please share with us.
Her mum, as imagined by her. Sweet!
Gluing the pictures and hearts. I pasted most of the hearts.
She pasted the yellow hearts that cut across the big heart.
Her lovely work. Draw and colour with your kids is the best time to learn. Who needs flashcards!!??
It’s nice to see her engrossed in her work.
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