How Apple Montessori Schools in New Jersey teaches children to succeed.
Excitement is filling the halls as our Pre-K and Kindergarten students’ Social Studies Projects are in full swing. The Social Studies Fair theme is Community Helpers.
The children have been learning all about the various helpers in our community, such as a librarian, a nurse, and the First Aid Squad. Each classroom has chosen a particular helper to research and to explain what the helper does and why it is important in the community.
Working on their project, It creates a better understanding of the world around us and the role community helpers play in contributing to the greater good. In each classroom, the classmates work together to build a table top project that will be on display in a common area of the school. For the elementary students, parents are invited on Jan. 22 to view the projects and listen to each student present their work, helping hone public speaking skills.
We have seen fairly quiet students come out of their shells. A student last year showed confidence, knowledge and true growth as a student. It was not only apparent that she practiced at home and in the classroom, but that she was elated about what she was presenting. It brought such joy to watch her present.
One parent told of a bittersweet moment. She brought her daughter shopping for all the materials for her project. When they came home she said, “Mom, thank you for taking me shopping, but this is my project and I need to do it by myself.” After working with her child for the past four years of Social Studies Fairs, she was saddened that her baby didn’t need her anymore. However, those words gave her mother a new sense of pride.
When our children accomplish more on their own, it says:
- I am a capable person.
- I want to take risks.
- I am not afraid to fail.
- I can be successful in my endeavors.
- I will learn from my mistakes.
- I am confident.
These beliefs are critical in today’s world. We want children to be willing to take risks and learn to be able to fail, and try again, learning from mistakes. It is a difficult thing as a parent to let our children act on their own, as we do not want to see the disappointment in their eyes if they fail. So we intervene and sometimes we take over.
The result is that our children become afraid to try new things in the shadow of possible failure. Our children look to us to make all decisions and eventually lose self-confidence. This process of letting go, possibly to fail, is the only way they are going to succeed. As we tell our students, Edison had thousands of notebooks filled with failed experiments, leading eventually to the electric light bulb, phonograph, movie projector and many other important inventions!
How You Can Help
- Guide your child, but put the ball in his/her court.
- Ask them what they think is the right way
- Give your child unconditional love. If they fail, it’s OK: they are one step closer to success.
- Know your child’s capabilities and set realistic goals, not too high or too low.
- Tell your child about your own failures and successes. You are their greatest role model.
- Help your child through those uncomfortable emotions that come with failing.