Dylan: Montessori pedagogy at the service of a child with Down’s syndrome

Who’s Dylan? 

A trisomic child. A boy locked up in his world. He doesn’t seem to understand the instructions. Has no group life and even annoys other children. 

How he started with Montessori 

He starts with the Practical Living material: Carrying a chair, Carrying a tray, Transferring seeds and there we saw him listening to the sound of the seeds falling into the bowl.

He began to build a form of intelligence by repeating the different presentations with an increasingly elaborate process. We started the Sensory and then one day…

Cylinder blocks

That morning, the educator introduced her to the first cylinder block, we didn’t know if it would work, but we wanted to try it and frankly, we believed it.

The educator begins the presentation. Each gesture is delicate, gentle and very slow. The child no longer moves, his gaze goes from the material to the educator, he is as attentive as ever. Sometimes he tilts his head to see better and sniffs from time to time! He smiles when he sees the size of the cylinders changing. One or two adults walk through the classroom and Dylan can’t see or hear the door opening.

Then the educator moves the block of cylinders in front of him and suggests that he do it again. He smiles and with even more delicacy, he takes the cylinders out one by one, puts them quietly on the table and then tries to put them back one after the other. He observes each notch to check the size, sometimes he changes cylinder because it is not the right one. 

Untiringly he continues his gaze is always fixed on his work. His body doesn’t move, his face is smooth. He shows maximum concentration without any tension, without fear, without anxiety as if he had done this all his life. 

And I, who was watching the scene, was speechless, never in my 30-year career had I seen so much concentration. I was moved. 

Once finished, he gets a huge smile of happiness. He shows that he wants to do it again. 

And here we go again for at least 10 minutes of work in silence in calm and peace. I move my gaze to the educator and I see 2 big tears on her face, we were so moved. 

For this child so disturbed, he had just worked without stopping for 25 minutes. 

When he finished, he put his equipment away and left jumping.

On that day, we both tasted a moment of absolute grace

Dylan showed us the vastness of his intelligence. He knew how to communicate his peace, his joy and his happiness to us as if he was saying “Well, you see! That’s what I need! »

This is what a Montessori atmosphere produces. This is what Montessori equipment produces. Is there a difference between a child who says without difficulty and a child with specific needs?

My gift to you

“We started with educational and cultural methods for the child and discovered that he is our master.” Maria Montessori.