What does a child get from just “Watching”? As parents we want to see our child as part of the group, actively in the mix. But there are many reasons that a child may enjoy observing.
Observing can feel safe. Many children enjoy watching the action standing just outside the group. There may be times when a child may feel the need to see what’s happening a few times before he or she is ready to jump in and have his or her turn. Being able to witness the sequence of an activity several times can allow a child to gain mastery in understanding all of the steps involved in a task.
In the picture below, the children watch painting at the easel with the use of a stencil. Starting with a blank page the teacher assists in setting up. The stencil is taped to the page after the child is able to make a choice; sun or lizard design. The child uses a sponge brush to paint over the stencil and then the image is revealed as the stencil is lifted up by the child and teacher. All the children waiting enjoy watching this process.
“As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate.” -Maria Montessori