A solid partnership between home and school is a vital part of every child’s success. But parents and guardians are often unsure of what they can do to prepare their children for the coming school days or to build on the important skills they’re learning in the classroom. It’s especially tricky for the many parents who were educated in the traditional school system. Having never spent much time in a Montessori classroom, they don’t always know where to begin when it comes to building on those principles at home.
But there’s no need to worry. By focusing on a few core character traits that the Montessori encourages and imparts, you can help your child flourish in and out of the classroom
It’s important to know children’s limits. After all, we need to worry about their safety, and leaving them to struggle with impossible tasks will often make them feel frustrated. But it’s also important to know those limits so we can let them work within them.
The Montessori classroom is set up to let the students explore and exercise all of their abilities. With child-sized furniture and learning materials kept at their level, Montessori children always get to experience that great feeling that comes from being able to do things for themselves.
It can sometimes be painfully difficult to watch our children spend what seems like an eternity awkwardly trying to do a simple task. But by stepping back and letting them do things themselves, you’re giving them the excitement and confidence that comes from small accomplishments like putting on their own socks.
Childhood is a great stage of life with its unique joys, discoveries, and needs. But children eventually grow into adults and we need to prepare them for that, too. And respect is one of the fundamentals of grown-up conduct.
Montessori teachers model respect with the classroom greeting. Every morning, each student is greeted with a handshake and some welcoming words. It’s a way to initiate children into one of the rituals of adulthood and it also sets a positive tone and expectation for the rest of the day.
It’s easy to slip into the mindset that our children are just too young (or wild!) to understand or take part in courteous routines. But they can often surprise you, and they will definitely appreciate the “big kid” treatment.
It’s no secret that children love playing. But that doesn’t mean they only want to do frivolous things. They want to feel like a part of the social groups around them, whether it’s their family or their friends and teachers at school. And one of the best ways to do that is to know they’re contributing something to it.
The Montessori methods builds practical life activities into the curriculum. This lets children do things that aren’t only education, but meaningful as well. When they’re asked to wash the table after playing with modeling clay or to care for one of the classroom plants, they know they’re doing their part in keeping things humming along.
At home, there are plenty of opportunities to give children meaningful tasks. Invite them to help with the cleaning by giving them a small hand broom and dust pan. Ask them to set their own place at the table or to lay out forks and spoons for everyone. And they’ll probably want to help you load the dryer, too. Watch their faces beam with pride after they’ve taken part in the household activities and have done something helpful.
By nurturing and reinforcing these three core values at home, you’ll be giving your children the tools they need to succeed in a Montessori setting. And it will come as no surprise to you that independence, respect, and empowerment also matter outside the classroom walls and well beyond school age. By imparting these qualities, we give children the foundation for a happy and meaningful life.