Dear families and friends of Learning Together,
I hope you are looking forward to a pleasant weekend. Each week you can expect an email from me to touch on a topic. The goal is to share some child development information and/or explain the Montessori approach.
Some of the values promoted in a Montessori classroom are freedom of choice (within reasonable limits), respect of the individual child, and establishing routines and, subsequently, order. As you saw for yourself, there is a lot to explore in the classroom. The goal for week one was simply for the children to be comfortable coming into the classroom and to notice the variety of materials available. It was really lovely to see both occur. As we move forward, routines will become important.
Young children crave predictability. It allows them to feel safe. When they know what to expect, and what's expected of them, they are more likely to cooperate, enjoy themselves, and thrive. Following regular routines is a great way to give toddlers a sense of security and reasonable responsibilities. Things like greeting each other, washing hands, using the learning materials, and what to do when the bell rings, will all become routine. At school and at home, routines help things run smoothly. In the classroom we'll work on a few goals through our established routines.
Creating a little community of friends is certainly one of our goals. We will work on this by coming together to greet each other in a morning circle once everyone's arrived. Singing each other's names, clapping together, talking and listening to each other, sharing a snack together, are all activities where we can model good manners and practice social skills. Friendships naturally occur in a warm classroom community.
Another goal is to begin to establish a work cycle, which helps ensure a peaceful and productive morning. We will work towards this by guiding the children to do one activity at a time for themselves; to choose the material, explore it, and then return it back to its spot on the shelf before moving on to the next thing. With practice and repetition this becomes routine. Toddlers naturally want to touch, explore, and then be on the move. However, guiding them to follow through with a few simple steps sets the stage to handle more complex activities later and promotes their independence.
This can translate to home as well, for example, putting a toy away when finished, putting shoes where they belong, or clothes in the laundry basket, etc. Having a place and purpose for each thing helps them orient to their environment. Little hands can handle little responsibilities.
I am happy to talk more about any of this information and address any questions or comments you may have about our sessions this week. I look forward to seeing all of you again soon!