Several months ago, I began doing some research on Maria Montessori’s methods. Her writing is rich with insights, not simply about teaching, but about the ways we think about and interact with our children. I have made a few deliberate adjustments in my parenting style because of things I’ve read from Montessori, particularly in how I support my three-year-old’s growing independence. However, I recently became aware of a change I had made unconsciously: I have stopped asking my children what they are doing.
Instead, I ask them: “What are you working on?”
Children are learning and growing every moment of the day. Both physically and intellectually, they are making immense strides with each new activity they try and each skill that they practice. This is not trivial play or simply passing the time. This is the work of childhood, and the work of parenthood is to support it.