From "Montessori Today" by Paula Polk Lillard
"The importance of parents giving full attention to their children when possible, not for the purpose of entertaining them but to establish a collaboration with children in their development, is also stressed. The energy of the child under three years is such that parents usually find time together a challenge.
The following incident illustrates this point. A mother of a twenty-one-month-old boy said to me recently, 'it's just incredible how much time he takes. It's so hard to get anything done but take care of him. I want to be there for him but it is so frustrating when there are so many things that I want to accomplish.' Then she told me that earlier that day she had been in the yard with her son. He had begun to climb a five-foot open-rung ladder that was leaning against a tree. After he got to the top, it was extremely hard for him to get down. At first, he tried to turn around and face outward, so that he could see where he was going. He kept trying to figure out how to turn around, how to look forward while going down backward. He worked at this for a long time. Finally, he gave up trying to turn around and began to descend while going down backward, clutching, with his chubby hands, the ladder rung, dropping one foot down then feeling for the next rung below. Eventually, when he found it, he started feeling for the next rung. He was totally absorbed in his activity, concentrating every muscle. Sometimes he missed a rung and hung there, feeling about with his foot. His mother remained next to him, holding her arms out to 'spot' him. Each time that he missed, she resisted the temptation to place his foot on the rung. It was hard not to help, but he was so pelased with himself when he managed on his own and gave no indication of wanting help. All the while that he was engaged in this concentrated effot, he was repeating to himself, 'Don't fall, don't fall,' 'Be careful, be careful,' 'Climb down, climb down.' When he made it to the bottom after such laborious effort, he said, 'Do it again!' and up he went. This process continued for an hour and a hald. Then he stopped as suddenly as he had begun. Some inner need was met. He was calm and happy and ready to go inside for his lunch."
Too often parents restrict their children in their exploration. "They are too young," I hear often at the playground. "They don't know how to hold a cup...they can't get into that chair...they are too small for that big slide..."
When you don't give them the chance to explore it, to figure out their own boundaries, they never will. They don't know. They can't.
Our children are not too small unless we perceive them as small.
Give them the world and you give them wings.