Toddlers are curious, irrational, self-centered; everything is mine! But you can’t blame them — that’s just the way their brains are wired. Sharing and taking turns is a difficult concept for them to understand. With patience, guidance and repeating the message they start to understand and learn this behavior.
If we keep on saying the word ‘share’ to the child without any context they will find it difficult to comprehend. They need to be shown and shown again! Repetition is the key. So, how does sharing happen in a Montessori environment?
- There is only one of each material in a Montessori classroom that has to be shared by all the children
- If a child is doing a work, the work cannot be taken away or shared
- If the child is willing to invite a friend then only sharing happens, it is not forced
- When the work is finished and back on the shelf, only then it is available for other children
In Montessori, children learn to share through understanding that they must wait when something isn’t available. It’s a way of respecting others and, in turn, receiving respect from others. Squabbles are avoided because one child can’t interrupt another child who’s stacking blocks and decide to line them up instead. That type of sharing, where two children are using the blocks together, always goes wrong with the toddler and preschooler group because they aren’t cooperative learners or players yet. Very young children are just learning to following their inner motivation and listen to their own cues. It’s vitally important that they be able to realize their vision of stacking or lining up blocks without interruption or obstacle. So, when not expected to share, children can relax and use the blocks in the way they want to and they’re better off for not sharing.