All summer, Bunny considered climbing the big hill we call Two Tree Mountain. Each attempt was met with a call for help. We will help a child down if they get scared or stuck. We will NOT help a child up the hill. We do this for several reasons.
One-- A child will seldom truly succeed at something (be it walking or hill climbing) if they are "helped" before they are ready. It may actually delay their success. Until a child is developmentally ready, it is better to allow them to practice at their own speed.
Another reason is that studies and real life experiences show that a child helped to do something that they are not physically ready to do is put in danger. They "think" they are able to do it on their own and can often be hurt when they step out in false confidence. An example would be a child who has been helped to walk down stairs will often just step off the stairs, without an adult, because they "think" they can actually do it by themselves. Much better to teach them to slide down on bottoms or crawl down the stairs backwards until the time comes that THEY can walk down the stairs using the rail .. all on their own.
Lastly, the pride and self confidence that comes from actually accomplishing a feat "all by myself" is so worth the wait. A child knows when they have mastered a skill as opposed to mama or papa doing it for them. It is a beautiful, exciting moment when they do it on their own!
Off the "two year olds" go to attempt to climb Two Tree Mountain! In this case one little boy was already a pro at the mountain and the other two had tried many times, but always backed down before reaching the top.
At this point (about half way up) Bunny asked for help UP.
We tell her we will come help her down, but we can't help her up the hill.
She sits a bit to think this over!
While she is thinking it over, the two little boys complete the climb and then slide down.
We congratulate them and enjoy their smiling faces!
After a little time, Bunny decides to try to climb the mountain!
From below, we verbally encourage her.
And take pictures!
Yeah!! She made it! "All by myself"!!
The reward... along with pride & self confidence...
is getting to slide down "Two Tree Mountain Mudslide"!
Allowing a child the freedom to try and succeed at "big things" helps them grow in so many ways!!
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed. ~ Maria Montessori