Here are our top 10 suggestions for practicing independence at home with young children.
We recommend practicing them a few at a time. It takes time and consistency to implement change, both for the parent and for the child.
- Foster independence: Don’t do for a child what they can do for themselves.
- Allow the child to speak for their self. Don’t speak for them to others.
- Build a vocabulary for emotions and feelings and practice expressing them. Use virtues language: patience, cooperativeness, courage, kindness, etc.
- Teach grace and courtesy in the home: How to interrupt politely; how to wait; how to say excuse me; how to cough and blow their nose, etc.
- Allow sufficient time for your child to dress their self. Provide a wardrobe that gives freedom of movement, independence, and no distractions (sparkles, lights, sounds).
- Provide a place to just dig. Allow your child to get totally dirty with no inhibitions, and time to “just be,” to play, explore, and create.
- Limit quantity of toys by storing and rotating them periodically. Organize them in containers on low shelves and give a workspace with aprons, mats, sponges, cloths, etc. for art activities that need clean up.
- From the earliest age give your child the responsibility to pick up after them selves: Put toys to away, put dirty clothes in hamper, clear dishes from the table, etc.
- Do food preparation together. Make snacks accessible: A small pitcher of water on a low shelf in the refrigerator, cut up fruit and veggies; glasses, plates and cutlery in a low cupboard.
- Eliminate or strictly limit TV watching– replace with activities that are not passive.
Educating children about taste buds and How to get your three year old to eat kale
When my son was two years old he would not eat carrots. Continue reading
Montessori educators are frequently asked to explain why children enter the program at the age of three.
Here is a brief anecdote we often hear from parents of older 3 year olds:
Your child celebrated their 3rd birthday and in a few short months transformed from a toddler to an exploratory and creative individual who is clearly ready for more independence. You watch her blossom and grow before your eyes; she is inquisitive and curious to learn. It becomes apparent that she needs more than toys and activities in the home to stimulate her potential.
There is a clear sense of purpose evident in the classroom.
This current of positive energy belies the structure and foundation of the Montessori educational approach. Both the learning materials and the role of the teacher are key.
The two terms, ‘art’ and ‘craft,’ are commonly used interchangeably to describe children’s activities. This creates confusion about the true nature of the genres; each is defined by differing characteristics:
Art is a creative activity produced by human imagination and expression, typically through visual and written forms: drawing, painting, sculpture, literature, music, dance. The works are created and inspired primarily for their beauty and their emotional power.
Craft is an activity involving skill and technique in making or duplicating something by hand: woodwork, pottery, textiles, knitting, jewelry. Their primary use is both practical and purposeful in daily living and education Continue reading
Sewing was a familiar and practical skill in our house when I was a girl growing up in the 60’s. My paternal grandmother was a seamstress for the furrier department of Eaton’s department store; my maternal grandmother embellished linens and clothing with colourful cross-stitched needlework; my mom sewed beautiful dresses for herself and her four daughters. Today, as a teacher and a mother, I now find pleasure in passing along the art of sewing to children. Continue reading
A child who is transitioning from a childcare program into an educational setting can experience significant physical and emotional changes. Childcare is primarily custodial in nature, providing the basic needs for safety and wellbeing, whereas preschool and kindergarten have an educational focus.
Attending school for the first time brings with it new experiences, new teachers, a larger class size, and peers older in age. The physical environment is big and new, with desks and educational materials vs. the familiar toys at daycare. Continue reading
The Montessori classroom is an educational environment enriched with materials representing geographical aspects of the world: the globe, puzzle maps, flags, land and water forms, animal figures, and nomenclature cards.
Turning the conceptual idea of geography into a concrete concept
The hands-on work with the geography materials offers children a concrete sensorial experience, attaching meaning and value to real-life physical environments. Continue reading
Children love science!
Topics ranging from the solar system to dinosaurs to volcanoes have strong appeal. It is equally important for young children to have the opportunity to learn and practice the scientific study of experimentation: the tools, the procedures, the vocabulary and analysis.
Preschoolers have a natural attraction to the principle of cause and effect. We often observe a two or three year old pour the contents of a container out onto the floor simply to see what will happen: Will the objects bounce? What will it sound like? Will something new be revealed? The child is intuitively doing an experiment: a test done in order to learn something, or to discover if something works. Continue reading