Turning “Can’t” into “Can”

Spending time with elementary students, I have noticed that they sometimes tend to exaggerate. It’s not malicious or hurtful, but it does make for some funny statements.

For example, I have been told:

“My dad only leaves the house to play poker.”

“My family left and I watched TV all day.”

“My parents NEVER do ANYTHING all weekend. They only talk and nap.”

“I didn’t sleep at all last night. Not even for one minute.”

It is normal for students of this age to “create their own truth” by stretching reality or using their imagination. However, I do become concerned when I hear students making two statements in particular:

“I can’t.” or “It’s too hard.”

When a student starts to convince himself of one of these statements, he is sure to make it his truth. By quickly analyzing what is frustrating the student, the Montessori guide must rearrange the lesson or work to help him understand what is being presented. This is a key part of the Montessori Method—observation and individual lessons to follow the child and set him up for success.