Earlier we learned that children want to learn and that there are many ways to encourage appropriate or even above average development in our children through fostering independence in their learning. We also learned that children learn by doing things over and over again or through sensory exploration, which is why many parents have blog posts all over the web recommending ways in which to make your own discovery baskets.
Now, before we go any further, I’m going to emphasize once again that I will never claim to be the perfect mom. I’m just trying to share information as I learn it and to maybe help out anyone else who has been looking for these answers. I’m using the information I have and what I can find to try to answer those questions.
I’m not a perfect mom, I make mistakes, but that is part of life. Learning is what all moms and everyone is perpetually doing, even if we don’t realize it. So if I ever say something you disagree with, realize that I’m either sharing my point of view or information from another source and not nay saying anything anyone else is doing. If you have a better idea, feel free to post it in the comments and I may end up researching that topic to post here as well. I’m all about sharing information and ideas for parenting and, where applicable, from a pagan perspective.
Today I want to talk a bit more about how we can encourage this development according to Montessori and those who have continued her work. With enough encouragement from their parents, children have done amazing things. However, a child can lose this inborn love of learning and I think that’s where some children have trouble with public school. It doesn’t stimulate them to learn or it uses a method of learning that may not be suited to them. I’m not saying public school is bad. There are some great programs out there, but not all children can learn the way public schools want children to learn.
What we don’t realize sometimes is that our children are learning no matter what they do. We may think that our child is just pulling things out of the kitchen cabinet, but I realized something the other day. When Freya pulls stuff out, she starts sorting it either by how it feels or its size, or a noise it makes. It may not be structured education, but she’s still learning and little moments like that are what Montessori is all about, realizing that your child is learning through their independence.
And when we pull them away from that experience we frustrate them. I’m not saying there isn’t a time when we have to, but the point is that independent sensory exploration and play are very important to a child’s development.
So how do we encourage our children in Montessori?
1. We encourage independent learning- We allow time for our children to do the activities that they love the most. My parents always wanted me to try new things, but they always made sure I had time for the old as well. They also let me learn from my own mistakes, which is what Montessori suggests as well. A child can fix their own mistakes if given enough time and that will teach them problem solving skills as well.
Montessori activities generally have what is called a “control of error” built in. What this means is that there is something in the activity that gives your child a clue of how to do something correctly. For example, when setting the table, a control of error could be setting out exactly what a child needs so that the placement is the only place they can make an error. Or when just starting out you can have a place mat and they have to match what is sewn onto the placemat
2. We Model
No, not the runway type of modeling, I’m talking about leading by example, which means taking a look at ourselves and possibly improving our own behaviors for the sake of our children.
3. Step by Step
We help our children learn things in each step, in their own time. We talked about this a bit Wednesday as well. If a child cannot accomplish the first task in an activity, they are just going to get more and more frustrated if you continue on to the rest of the steps.
4. Concentration or Aggravation
We can help our children learn concentration at an early age. It’s a skill that anyone can benefit from. Concentration is developed by ensuring that the tasks we give our children are appropriate for their age and ability. Children lose interest when something is either too hard or too easy.
5. Encourage a positive attitude for learning
If we have a positive attitude towards teaching our children, they are going to learn to have a positive attitude towards learning as well. It goes back to the law of return, what you give comes back to thee.
6. Memory Skills
There are tons of activities that develop memory whether it is rote, visual, auditory, or movement memory. And there are tons of books out there with some of these activities. I’ll probably be going over some of them myself when Freya is the appropriate age to do some of these activities. Until then check your local library for Montessori Play and Learn or other Montessori activity books. Pinterest is also a good place to find Montessori activities of any type.
7. Encourage Language Development
Part of this is simply engaging and talking to your child. Something I still feel I need to spend time on as well. Or at least I feel that I should spend more time than I already do on this. Montessori encourages us as parents to tell our children stories and to explain what we are doing to them, even if they are not old enough to participate themselves.
Next week I’m going to be doing a book review (maybe two) on a pagan children’s book series as well as talking about how to outfit your home for Montessori. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.