It’s mid-September and our students have transitioned admirably to the Montessori classroom! The Montessori space is a little different from most school settings in that everyone in the room, from students to teachers, play vital roles in the care of their environment. Here are some tips from our teachers as to how you can help reinforce some of this independence and responsibility at home.
Children love to help and feel like they are contributing to their families and communities. Sometimes they just need support. Allowing children to help around the house has a huge impact on their success in a Montessori setting. And remember, ultimately, they just want to spend time with you. Invite them to join you in your chores. They’ll love it.
- Folding laundry, pairing socks, setting the table for meals, caring for plants etc. helps them to feel like they are contributing to their family and school community and caring for their environment.
- Shared family clean up: It can be challenging to get your little one to clean up. But they are actually really eager to do it! Having tools their size helps. Try cutting some sponges in half and have them join you at the sink to wash dishes, or invest in a small handheld brush and dust pan.
Learning independence away from home is a big first step for our young ones and one of the biggest things our Primary kiddos are learning is “Yes I can!” Students are encouraged to practice their independence and to celebrate their abilities. “How can I help?” you may ask.
care for your space.
A big one in the classroom (that all of our students have demonstrated ability with) is putting things away before we get something else out. This can be slightly more challenging to enforce at home because our children are used to playing with whatever they want at any time. It can, however, be done! Have your student put one activity away before getting the next thing out. This will help with focus (they may want to spend more time with their toys if they are responsible for tidying them up), independence, and responsibility.
practice makes perfect…
Let your child try first, then help. Their practice will build determination and confidence. Their final success on their own is a priceless gift. This can take patience on your part, especially if your child is adamant that they need your help. Take your time where you are able, and really support your child in practicing their skills.
It’s teeth brushing time? Let’s work on putting your face mask on by yourself while looking in the mirror before starting to brush teeth. Have a shiny new pair of shoes? Practice putting shoes on and off (when you’re not in a rush to be somewhere of course). Our young ones get hungry. Can they open and close their lunch containers on their own? It’s hard to wait their turn for help when they’re hungry.
- Sit on the floor at your child’s height and look at the room… what is possible, impossible from that height? What beauty do they see? Move artwork, mirrors, etc. to their height. It looks funny for us to see a painting at knee height, but beautiful for them! Move things that they need to places that they can use them.
- Resist the urge to interrupt focused work by taking photos, or showing them how to do something different. Let them be.
- Count to 20 in your head before helping if you see them struggling to open a yogurt, or zip their coat, etc. Sit on your hands if you have to! Give them a chance to succeed and experience struggle. If they do need help, show them what you’re doing, do as little as possible for them to have success, then pass it back to them.