Thursday, April 29, 2010
To Live and Die (Not Literally) By the Sticker
This evening my daughter, who is four, was playing teacher. She handed me a tiny sticker from her sticker collection. "Here you go, sweetie," she said to me. "This is for good behavior." I took it from my "teacher's" fingertip and put it on the back of my hand, as most children do. At first I thought it was adorable but then, call it a full moon or something in the water it broke my heart a little. Both of my children, and indeed many of the children I work with, live and die, metaphorically speaking, by the sticker. These children are fundamentally GOOD children. Developmentally well-behaved, sweet, and likable. Really, most children are or strive to be, would you agree? Yet they fall all over themselves to get a sticker, a marble, or some other small token of good behavior-ness. All this good behavior...for a sticker? The Montessori philosophy does not believe in external rewards - all "rewards" should come from inside oneself and while this may be harder for kids to "get", I think it is achievable. Certainly a child who feels good inside knows that their actions are worth more than a sticker? Can a person be anti-sticker? What do you think? I welcome your musings.