DSM: How to properly guide?

CindyK (cindyk@unitz.on.ca)
Fri, 15 Dec 2000 13:41:45 -0500

Hi Everyone,
I have a question about not getting involved. My daughter just turned 4 last Saturday. For the last two months she has had an explosion into letters just as Maria Montessori predicts of 4 year olds. I left her alone and only helped her when she asked. In the beginning I had tried to 'teach' her but I quickly found out that that was not what she wanted. Since I have left her alone, she has been learning just fine. I am actually very pleased and surprised at her progress. The problem is that when she writes her name she just places all the letters on the page. She doesn't put them in order. Actually, she writes them in the order that she learned them. The t will go in the middle of the page, then the i next to it, the e is usually on the other side of the t, the a and the k get squished in on the sides. Then she proudly announces that she has written Katie. I love to see her so happy with herself. Lately I have found myself wondering if I should make more of an effort to get her to put them in order. I have explained to her that for people to read her name it has to be in the correct order on the page. I have her name written and hung up as an example. I have pretty much left it at that.

So my question is: Do I just leave her alone and she will eventually figure it out. Two months ago she couldn't write the letters at all, maybe two months from now she will put them in order - naturally. Or do I make more of an effort to 'teach' her the order? There is a school of thought that says not to let children make mistakes like this because the first impression is the strongest. In other words, if I don't get her to write it properly from day one, that first impression may lead her to relapse into poor spelling when she's stressed. I don't know.

Any comments? I'd much appreciate them. I feel like I want to just let it happen naturally and I am experiencing the great amount of trust it takes to do just that.

By the way, Katie is at home with me, not at school. I kept her home as I think it's absurd for 3 year olds to go to school. :) I hope to set up a Sudbury School that she could benefit from.

Thank you all.

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