I spend a lot of time researching the Maria Montessori method and as some of you may know my son Lucas attends two days a week at the Melbourne Montessori School in the Early Learning room.
Each time we attend I always use the first few minutes of dropping him off to be aware of what I see, from Lucas perspective.
The environment is clean, tidy and 95% of all pieces are in the same place as they last saw them, so they adjust into the room very quickly. The routine from the first minute is the same, provide the room person their bottle of water and add their piece of fruit to the basket to later cut with their friends and share. They are supported through choosing what ‘job’ they would like to do first and often left to independently complete the job and then place it back in the same place they found it…. then the next job.
It’s incredible the long list of ideas I gather from those few minutes and I quickly create a list of things I can do to incorporate into our daily routine and activities.
I have today purchased some trays (only $1.50ech) with no handles so they learn to balance themselves the items on them. I write a little list of activities from counting, using different utensils, fine motor skills,, puzzles, cutting, drawing, sewing, patterns…. whatever I can think of that I know will encourage Lucas to love to learn. After all the ultimate achievement is to not set ‘homework’ for my child but to give him the passion and curiosity to want to learn. Then all I need to do is provide him with the right types of things to support is interests and allow him to develop in his own way.
Over the next couple of days I will be putting together he’s new setup as the old one has been there for a number of weeks.
I look forward to sharing each idea with you and the reason why I think it’ll work well. Not each job is a hit, each child is different and at different stages. Sometimes I leave it there as days or weeks later after mastering his favourite jobs he will give that not-so-interesting job a go… sometimes not and I just put it aside for another time.
1. Don’t instruct or hover over them. Curiosity today including the frustrating part of working something out is teaching your child to be independent emotional and intellectual as they grow.
2. Read to them. I try and read at least one book pre and post sleep including nap times and often he wants to read the new library books quite a few times. Books are untimely a primary way to teach our children to learn, not only the skill to read and write but the contents of the book… surely it beats any screen?!
3. Keep them active (bikes, tree climbing, wrestling, ball skills, jumping, swimming) and support them with balance skills and co-ordination. just a ball moving from one hand to another is a start. or asking them to pick a ball up with their left/right hand. The options are endless and it only takes a ball, eventually they will ramble on to themselves and make up their own balls games.
4. Have a plan, either discuss with your partner or if your solo do your research. Learn from how you managed to learn the best yourself or what negatives and positives came out of your personal experiences. Think about how you can encourage your child to be the best of them without being dictated how to be, learn and think!
5. Be in complete control of their nutrition, this is what you should be prudent about. I’m personally not that negotiable on what my son eats. It’s always no to junk, processes crappy pointless food. It’s always water and herbal teas and never juices unless I’m making it myself at home. There is meat most days and always vegetable options, a little pasta, couscous and some health bread. So far, most of the time my son is brilliant at eating whatever I give him and the easy reason to that is that there is never an option of anything but the things he should be eating. I never reward him with food, ever. I never bulk him on pointless bread but I will however supply a huge bowl of steamed broccoli with whatever sauce options he would like. Until your child is earning his own coin…its YOUR responsibility to provide your child with every opportunity to have a healthy life. I assure you, there is every chance he will turn his nose at a can of soft drink, a block of gross gummy bears or cheap bakers bread after he has had the best parts of his life eating the real deal!