Sunday, August 19, 2012

5 Ways To Support Montessori Kids

Now that Iris and Sarah are off to school (with Mom), I'm remembering how important it is to support
the Montessori-Schooled Child while considering their school-specific needs.
This photo is Madeline in our old school, viewing the world- up close.


1.  Read
Make time each day to read to your child.  This is the most important things a parent can do for any child.  If they can, ask them to return that favor (even if they are just making up the stories).  Visit libraries and bookstores, not just kindles and iPads!  Show them that reading isn't just a skill, but a world of adventure.  Also, read for pleasure in front of them.  I always find my girls curl up next to me with their books while I read my own books.

2.  Art
Provide plenty of time and materials for art; both creation and appreciation.  Go visit museums on weekends, or show the child books with art from all cultures and times.  Consider having an art area/table, where the child can create open-ended art.  Using pencils, crayons, paints, and clay at home supports the coordination and control they work on all day at Montessori.  We all know creativity is linked so deeply with intelligence. 

3.  Simplify
Take time to "just be."  Children can be over programmed, overstimulated, and overtired to the point where learning is impeded.  Try taking breaks from activities and spending time just being together.  No plan, just being together.  Time away from screens and electronic toys creates calm and room for real thought.  Considering the child's needs for rest can help him/her have successful school days with less fatigue.  

4.  Nature
Get outside.  Country or city, there's so much world to see.  Get out there, and spark some wonder in yourself and your little ones.  The best memories I have with my girls were surrounded by leaves, sand, and grass.

5.  Think Independence

Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.  ~ Dr. Maria Montessori  Allow your children to dress themselves, help to cook and prepare meals, and clean up around the house.  Beyond that, try to imagine ways to set things up in your home to keep more at the child's level.  Can they reach the soap themselves?  Perhaps a stool will help.  Can your child help themselves to a healthy snack or a drink?  Give it a try!  Children need independence and support simultaneously, it is a balance to play with throughout their growth.