When summer finally arrives, we as parents are so excited to experience sunshine, the great outdoors, swimming pools and family time with our children. Daily excursions are planned, summer camps joyfully scheduled, family vacations taken, SPF cream liberally smeared.
Somehow, despite our best efforts to keep schedules and routines in order, our children begin to act out. “I’m bored!” is a phrase heard every five minutes, and sometime the silly behavior becomes too much. Parents begin to feel exhausted, despite big plans for three whole months of time together, and secretly wish that the summer just wasn’t so…..long!
Why is it that, just when they get to spend the whole summer at home, children go “crazy?”
As Montessori educators, we strongly believe that the real reason behind the “summer crazies” is that without the proper environment, children can begin to feel out of sorts. Young children thrive on the order and stability of their Montessori classrooms, regardless of the season.
Summer can be exciting, but too many trips, excursions and adult-led summer camp experiences–especially when sports camp follows zoo camp follows cooking camp!–mean that children can start to feel out of control and over-stimulated. All these summer camp activities leave little room for quiet time. Even when quiet time finally arrives, children don’t have access to the carefully designed Montessori materials that allow them to focus their whole attention, and to attain the concentration their minds need to optimally develop.
Children need routines. They need an environment designed specifically for them, where they can function independently, with little adult help. Their developing minds must find interesting things to engage with, and a controlled, well-designed space allows them to engage without distractions, corrections or time pressures to move on to the next activity. When children have too long of a break from school, their parents—and teachers– begin to notice a regression in behavior, as well as a (temporary) loss of the developmental gains that were made at school.
Once a child becomes engaged in concentrated work in the prepared Montessori environment, Dr. Montessori noted that negative behaviors observed in many young children—unkindness, whining, shouting, clinginess, boredom, possessiveness—disappear as the child focuses on the work.
Dr. Montessori wrote, “Surrounded by interesting things to do, (children) could repeat the exercises at will, and went from one spell of concentration to another. Once the children had reached this stage, and could work and focus their minds on something of real interest to them, their defects disappeared. … All these disturbances came from a single cause, which was insufficient nourishment for the life of the mind.”
By enrolling in Chesterfield Montessori Schools’ Summer Program, we ensure that your children will continue in their familiar, safe environment. We do of course add fun elements to make summer special and different from the school year: swimming lessons, splash days, art activities, nature exploration, self-made cardboard boat races, to name a few—but the main thing to remember is that each day is led by our highly trained Montessori teachers, not temporary camp counselors, so that your child will experience the consistency and continuity they crave while exploring something new and exciting.
Need a cure from the “summer crazies?” Our Montessori Summer Program is the “mental nourishment” a child needs to thrive in the summer. Both you and your child will enjoy the long, sunny summer afternoons together in a quality way, and truly enjoy the time spent together.
Blog post written by: Lise Riet-Lague, Assistant Head of School: Admissions & Advancement