Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Personality and performance

Over the last few months, Jake's personality has really developed. He's always been a smiley boy and laughs a lot when we get him at the right moment, but he's much more affectionate of late. Clare always makes a fuss when I come through the door and he gets so excited. I can't tell you how awesome it is to see his face light up when he sees me. He legs it across the dining room with his arms up, often laughing. As soon as I pick him up he buries his head into my shoulder as if he'd never expected my return. That unconditional love is so rewarding and not something I'd anticipated so soon. I like to think I'm a nice enough person but no one else I know greets me with such enthusiasm!

He's starting to work things out now as well and watching him investigate and learn stuff is brilliant. He can walk in my slippers, knows how to use a digital camera (well, he can hold it up and look at the screen), knows which button turns off the telly (really, really annoying) and can choose his favourite biscuit from his box of treats.

I always cringe a bit when people forecast a child's future talents from their early achievements (ooo he opened the toilet seat, he's going to be a plumber etc), but it does look like he quite a creative child. This isn't a proud dad proclamation (although I did get a twinge of proud dad syndrome), his nursery reports make repeated reference to his finger / foot / potato painting - he made an almost perfect snowflake (there's an oxymoron) print last week. His teachers mention his coordination with the materials is really good and he picks things up quite quickly. On the downside they mention that it takes him a while to settle down to activities because he constantly wants to play with something else. Naturally, we've taken this as early signs of ADHD but at least he'll be producing some good stuff when he can concentrate!

The creative / materials stuff is what appealed to me about the Montessori approach. I've mentioned before that I used to think it was a bit hippyish but I didn't really understand it. I think I confused it with that Steiner nonsense where kids don't compete and no one wins etc. To be fair I might even be wrong about that but haven't the inclination to prove myself otherwise. Anyway, I digress; the Montessori method uses lots of natural materials to help children learn by playing and interacting with them. So instead of showing them the number '2' for example, they will make the shape of a 2 out of sandpaper, stick it to a block of wood and get them to trace their finger over it. It could all still be a load of bollocks but it makes sense to me and if it means he gets an appreciation for wood over plastic then I'm all for it.

So, basically the boy is a genius and he really loves me. Can't ask for much more than that.

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