If your child attends public school and you are considering sending them to a summer program for kids, you may have a multitude of questions. The Montessori philosophy is much different from what you are familiar with. In public school, students are assigned seats and expected to remain quiet and on task with everyone else in the classroom. Montessori believes that children can foster their own learning and development through exploration and experience. Here are 5 idioms that may give you an idea of what to expect.
Don't cry over spilled milk
Accidents happen. Mistakes are made. These are used as learning tools to help your child understand what could go wrong and how to prevent them from happening again. For example, children will learn through trial and error if they spill a liquid when trying to pour it from one container to another. It will help them focus more on being careful. There's no reason to cry over spilling something.
Simply clean it up and try again. Before long, your child will be able to pour a tall glass of milk without spilling a drop, but it does take practice and patience—and a mop or a roll of paper towels.
Age is nothing but a number
Montessori doesn't confine children in groups based on their ages. Children of all ages will be in the same classroom setting. The younger children will learn from the older children, while the older children's skill sets will be reinforced when they explain and teach the younger children how to use the various materials. However, this does not mean that older children are held back in the learning process as the materials are designed to be used by students at varying educational levels.
Keep your options open
In a Montessori learning area, there are a number of various materials the children can pick and choose from. By giving them choices, they can hone in on what interests them the most at any given time. Think back to when you were in grade school and had to sit through boring classes and materials that you had no interest in learning. The concept used in Montessori is that children who are given choices in what to learn and how to learn will learn more. Allowing children to have choices also helps them learn how to make good decisions.
Actions speak louder than words
Children tend to learn more readily by actually doing activities rather than by sitting at a desk. As you well know, children are active creatures and want to move around and use all of their senses when exploring an object or a set of learning materials. Exploration can help develop your child's critical thinking skills. Children are encouraged to use their five senses to explore and investigate the various objects and materials that are available to them. What better way to learn than by first-hand experience using all five senses?
Give credit where credit is due
Today, there are so many helicopter parents who feel they need to take care of every detail and aspect for their child. After your child begins attending the summer program, you may see him or her exert more of their independence than before.
Give them some space to take care of their own chores, such as making their beds, putting their clean laundry away, and pouring a tall glass of milk. When you notice your child doing these things, praise them for it and let them know how proud you are their new-found capabilities. This will foster a love of independence in your child which can give you more time to take care of other parenting and adulthood responsibilities.