Monthly Archives: October 2016

Want to foster independence in your child?


Tala Wagner, a Montessori educator and mom, describes what fostering independence means at home, and how it shapes a child’s work in the Montessori classroom. Read on!

Montessori parents often tout the academic benefits of a Montessori education. Even more worthy of note is the character of the children who attend those schools. It is often said that Montessori schools foster independent, confident children. But beginning the journey of a Montessori parent takes a huge leap of faith. To talk about independence and real items such as knives and glass objects in the same breath might incite panic in families considering Montessori education.

But what are we really talking about when we say independence in the classroom? And what does te term mean for families at home?

Maria Montessori’s own vision for early childhood education was to be an “aid to life”. She wrote that “to aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator”. Many Montessori schools call the adults in the classroom “guides”. Adults in the Montessori classroom do not teach by disseminating information. They provide a prepared environment for children to reach their own discoveries, with plenty of failures and triumphs along the way.

In order to provide a personalized education, Montessori guides spend much time observing each child. They see what a child is mastering, what a child enjoys, and what a child needs more time practicing. So, for example, after months of watching a child handle glass bowls and cups with care, refine their motor skills through practical life works, and spend increasing amounts of time concentrating on works, a Montessori guide might introduce that particular child to bread or cheese cutting… with a knife.

So what is the point in fostering independence in our children (besides letting them use sharp objects)?

Our children know how to solve problems. Independence is an ability to discriminate between “this is tough” and “this is truly beyond my ability”. It is both a determination to trust oneself, and the ability to see getting help as a solution instead of a failure. Independence means empowering our children to trust themselves.

To cultivate a home life filled with independent opportunities, you do not have to be a trained Montessori professional, just an observant and mindful parent. Ask yourself what you can do to help your children help themselves. Do they need more time to get dressed without help or interference? Embrace little mistakes. Is there a low shelf with cleaning supplies so they can clean their own spills? Anticipate their needs. Is there a water source available so they can get their own drinks? Decide what works best for your home and your family. Find what you can do to nurture the independent spirit in your little ones.

Information found here:

Want your children to stop interrupting you? Try this….

We want to help children learn grace and courtesy skills that they can use everyday. This allows them to interact with adults respectfully and confidently and allows adults to always show children the respect they deserve.

To follow is one simple grace and courtesy lesson that you can teach your child that will accomplish these goals.

It can be difficult finish a conversation or task when your kids are talking to you or screaming for your attention. Both parents and teachers have to deal with the issue of kids needing and wanting attention at times when it just can’t be given. But children can easily learn polite ways to get your attention without interrupting your conversations or tasks. And you will be showing respect for kids’ needs and feelings at the same time.

Here are the simple steps you can follow to teach your child how to get your attention. It may take a couple of week where you need to remind your child of what to do, but with your consistency, your child will learn this skill.

Explain to your child that when he or she needs your attention, they may place a hand on your shoulder or arm.

Whenever your child does this,  respectfully acknowledge your child by gently touching the child’s hand as soon as possible.

Whenever your conversation or task allows, turn to your child with a smile and thank them for being so polite. Then ask them what they need and how you can help them.  Then your child tells you their story or asks their question. Easy peasy!

It’s a win-win! The adult finishes conversations and tasks in peace while the child is acknowledged and respected. Also, the child builds self confidence that could not come from impatient interruption and constant shushing from the parent.