The Toddler Community Program is off to a great start as September comes to a close. Daily the children are exploring, repeating activities and developing/practicing new skills. Exploration, repetition, and order are just a few of our natural human tendencies that are basic qualities of all humans. Children need to be able to use their natural tendencies in order to adapt and construct themselves. In order for children to accomplish their natural tendencies successfully they need safe environments in which to explore. For the young child, order allows the child to create him/herself and orient him/herself to all the information that is being absorbed. For the young child external order creates internal order. Montessori said, “Education is an aid to life.” Everything in the classroom is designed to aid and support the child in his/her natural growth and development.
The children have become familiar with our basic routines of transitioning to school, having snacks together, pouring a drink, toileting and exploring materials. Since having two toddler classrooms, it really is busy in the best of ways?
Supporting Development of Confidence and Independence at home:
Practical life activities are activities that we do daily and the young child will show interest in doing. They can help build independence and confidence at a young age. These are some activities your child can do with you at home- first show your child how to do them and allow them to perform the task. Efficiency is not the child’s focus! The young child is process driven, rather than results driven so keep this in mind when you are doing tasks together:
- Scrubbing vegetables
- Sweeping with dustpan and broom
- Setting the table- one dish at a time. Adult puts out everything the child needs at his/her level
- Sponging off table
- Wiping table with small spray bottle with water and a small towel
- Putting away toys
- Sorting laundry
- Watering plants (use small watering can and move plants to sink or mat on floor first so as not to damage furniture)
- Washing dishes
- Helping to load dishwasher
"If processions of children appeared among us we would have to welcome them reverently and bow down before them in admiration. The child would appear before us as a teacher of peace."
~Dr. Maria Montessori
I share it with you now because it speaks to the power for impact and change that resides in the hearts of children. It is our work with the elementary aged children to inspire them so that they might find this spark within themselves. It is our work to help them cultivate this spark and to encourage them to recognize that they have a powerful and important role to play in the world they have been born into.
I have also recently been contemplating how it is that we come to find balance between our personal desires and our obligations, and how it is that we can best help children to develop this practice. I have come to the understanding that discovering this balance is a lifelong journey that begins with the simple practices within our classrooms that foster this practice of internal deliberation. This practice begins with helping children navigate between, "I want to...be with my friends, use this new material, work on a new project.... but I need to... be kind with my words and body, practice skills to be prepared, make a plan." As adults, I think we often take this process of logical reasoning for granted, yet in truth, it takes practice to come to the skill of balancing between need and desire. This work also extends beyond the self and into the community, " I want to sing this song, but my table mate is distracted by it. I want to............ Insert ridiculous behavior, but it is not what my community NEEDS". This is where children begin to understand that they have an obligation to support the well being of the communities that they belong to, and fullfilling those obligations strengthens their sense of belonging. Again, this takes time and practice. But as we continue our work, and I reflect on the powerful movements happening across our country on the behalf of all children's needs, I have faith in our humanity and our children. Peace.