In the Pacific Northwest we are able to enjoy large swings in the weather. One month it can be hot and dry and the next cool and rainy. Maria Montessori believed that in order for a child to thrive they need ample time to be outside and experience the environment around them regardless of the weather. When properly dressed your child can comfortably be outside in almost any weather. Experiencing different weather throughout the year is a lesson in and of itself. Children observe the changing seasons and all the wonderful detail that goes with that. When experiencing and discussing the weather together, one is often integrating science, math, reading/writing and further exploration and discovery. At VMS we encourage parents to make sure that the clothing supplied for their children enables them to explore the outdoors in all of our beautiful seasons. Remember that there is no such thing as bad weather, only insufficient clothing.
Many of the earliest lessons taught in Montessori schools are those of “grace and courtesy”. These lessons are part of the Montessori Method and extend throughout the child’s time at school. One skill fostered is patience, something many people struggle with at times. Patience can help develop the ability to think through and resolve problems; it can counteract impulsivity and undesirable behaviors. Teaching patience by example helps children learn resilience and self-control. These are skills which contribute toward emotional maturity.
Picture this scenario- which many of us can relate to: You’ve just arrived home, and are trying to talk to your spouse for a few seconds, when your child approaches you and wants your attention, right now! They may start saying “MOM” or “DAD” loudly to get your attention. Generally, you will react one of two ways: You may ignore your child, which sends the message that ignoring is an acceptable method of interacting with others. Or you may give your child immediate attention, which sends the message that no matter what you are doing the child is more important. In both of these scenarios the child is not developing a sense of patience.
In the Montessori environment, the practice of patience is started early. Nearly every material and lesson in the classroom is designed to help teach the child how to learn patience. This is why you have noticed only one of each material (or work) on the classroom shelf. As your child begins to learn more about patience, through experience, it will become a natural part of who they are now and, hopefully, the adult they will become.
Setting up your kitchen to be child friendly is an easy way to help your child gain more confidence and independence while supporting the family needs. Naturally, your children want to help you and play an active role in making meals. With a little bit of your help and a few inexpensive tools, you can help your child successfully navigate the kitchen.
A child friendly kitchen can include:
- A low table and chair for eating or working at. This allows the child to easily get in and out of their chairs without assistance.
- Low shelf equipped with dishes, cups, silverware. Designating a shelf or area in your pantry allows your child to gain more independence and take an active part in their own meal preparation.
- Add a low shelf in the refrigerator with prepared snacks, and drinks. While this might take a little more prep work on your side, your child well enjoy being able to choose what they would like to eat. Make sure to prepare healthy snacks, such as hummus and carrots, pre-cut fruit or vegetables, etc. This helps to build a strong foundation for healthy eating habits later.
- Demonstrate the proper way to hold and use utensils. Keep words to a minimum so that your child can concentrate on your actions. Introduce tools and techniques one at a time and give your child time to master each skill.
With a little preparation and insightful thinking you can turn any kitchen into a kid- friendly area! Not only will they enjoy more freedom in taking charge on their own eating habits, there are also gaining valuable skills that will last them a life time.
Learning to use the toilet is one of the many major milestones in childhood. For children and parents, it is a process of building on experiences, skills and successes. When viewed as a collaborative partnership between children and their caregivers, this process becomes a rewarding and natural aspect of daily routines.
When children begin walking, one of the areas they are most eager to explore is the bathroom. Around this same time, they are becoming more conscious of when they pee or poop. This is an ideal time to begin the process of learning to use the toilet. Children who wear cloth diapers/underwear receive the immediate feedback of being uncomfortable when they are wet or soiled, which allows them to be much more successful. Commercial diapers/pull ups keep moisture away from their skin; children can feel very comfortable for many hours. The most ideal clothing for the toilet learning process is pull over shirts and pants with elastic at the waist. Children thrive when they are able to be as independent as possible.