How Did My Daughter Develop A Love Of Writing?

by Barbara O’Brien, Ph.D.,
Developmental Psychologist

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
– Maya Angelou

We’ve all been there. We’ve seen our children put their shoes on the wrong feet, their shirts on backwards, and we’ve seen them misspell words like “pardy” instead of “party.”

And, our instinct is to correct these errors. Because, after all, how else will our child learn which shoe goes on the right foot? But, wouldn’t she learn after time and with experience that the right shoe simply feels better on the right foot?

The parenting impulse to correct our child’s errors may stem from an inability to remember what it was like to be a child navigating the world. Much like my two-year-old and her continual “me do it” assertions, children are born with the desire to figure out the world on their own. And, when we point out errors during their early navigations it may send the wrong message. Children learn best when they are given the opportunity to correct their own errors on their own time.

This is the Montessori education my six-year-old daughter experiences at Chesterfield Montessori School. She has been given an opportunity to learn at her own pace and receive feedback on her progress from the materials in which she works, rather than being told she has made an error.

My daughter has come home from school these past few weeks with new stories that she has written on her own. At home, she writes dinner menus and ‘dans pardy’ invitations. She is having a wonderful time branching off into this new communicative domain.

Initially, I was concerned that her writings were on the wrong track. For instance, she would spell ‘of’ as ‘uv’, or “dans pardy” instead of “dance party.” So, with my corrective instinct I thought I was supposed to point out these errors. But, her teacher reminded me that the main goal for this beginning writing stage was for her to develop an interest and love of writing. And, if I continually corrected her spelling efforts at this early stage she may become reluctant to participate in this learning process.

This is not to say that I couldn’t provide her additional opportunities to learn the correct spellings. We could read a book or other print material with these same words. And as we read together she will gain exposure to words and implicitly learn the proper spellings. In fact, just yesterday she sent me a new invitation for a “party.” Within a very short amount of time she self-corrected her own spelling.

My husband told her the other day that she was like a sponge to which she replied, “Yes, and I’m soaking up all the letters with my brain.”

For more information please contact the Chesterfield Montessori School at 314-469-7150 or visit www.chesterfieldmontessori.org.