Toddler I November
Parents often ask us, “How do you get them to do that?” or they say, “I wish they would do that at home.” These questions and comments almost always occur after Parent/Child Sharing Night and after conferences. They see their child cleaning up after themselves, being independent in their self care, not taking things from others, and wish they could see their child exhibiting these desirable behaviors at home. The answer we give our parents is that the environment has to invite these behaviors.
Children naturally want structure in their lives. While they may not show it, they want it, they need it, and they thrive with it. Our classroom is set up to fit them. It is their world, and they are responsible for its care. While turning your home into a Montessori classroom may not be doable, there are things you can do to help make it more like school.
The first rule of thumb is less is more. Children’s rooms and playrooms can become cluttered with toys. Having too much overloads their senses, and they simply cannot make sense of it all. This is especially important to remember during the upcoming holiday season when new gifts will be arriving from family and friends. Make a point to clean out their old toys in anticipation of the new ones they will be receiving. In our classroom we regularly rotate out the work, keeping no more than two pieces of work on a shelf. Rotating the materials keeps them fresh and inviting.
Many years ago we had a parent tell us the way she did that was by giving the old toys to charity. She sat down with her child and talked about which toys were toys the child still played with and which toys they had outgrown. After sorting them into two piles they talked about little children in the world who did not have toys and encouraged the child to think about giving them to those children. How happy a little boy or girl just like them might be to receive this new toy. The child loved the idea of sharing with other children and was eager to give as gifts the toys she was no longer using. Doing this not only lessens the clutter in your home but it also highlights sharing. Caring for others is something we all can practice more often.
In the coming months we will share more ideas on molding your home environment to be more like the classroom environment. Thank you all for reading and for sharing your precious children with us.