At our first Parent Evening of the 2019-2020 school year, Ms. Kim, Ms. Lise, and a panel of our guides (teachers) led a discussion of the “three keys” to unlock your child’s unique potential. The group discussed the great importance of those three keys, which are:
- a prepared environment in which children can learn and thrive,
- an individualized approach to each child’s learning, and
- hands-on experiences to encounter the world around them.
Montessori education is unlike any other pedagogy in that it focuses entirely on providing the child with these three scientifically-backed elements which are so critical to every child’s success.
In these excerpts from our new monthly Parent Education Newsletter, The CMS Observer, we’ll take a look at our classrooms to see how these keys have been at work. First, we’ll peek inside our Young Children’s Community:
Drop-offs and new routines can feel traumatic for both Toddlers and their parents. The Toddler at this stage has developed object permanence, making it upsetting for her to know that her parent still exists somewhere else without her when she leaves. Likewise, these Toddlers are in what Dr. Montessori called a sensitive period for order. Toddlers look for regularity as they build trust and confidence in themselves and their world, and any disruption to routines can feel monumental. Developing a regular, peaceful routine for school arrival builds the child’s confidence and satisfies that need for order. To aid our Toddlers in this huge step, it is important to consider those three critical keys.
A prepared environment for the Toddler means not only the physical space, but the emotional and temporal space, as well. Guides carefully plan for the child’s entry to the classroom to look the same each day; parents, too, can create a pattern for their daily goodbyes. Arriving on time eliminates a sense of chaos, and remaining outside the classroom when separating also highlights the fact that the environment waiting inside is just for the Toddler!
These routines are individualized for each child’s physical and emotional needs. We invite the child to operate independently whenever she is able. For school arrivals, that may mean that the child walks herself into the classroom and carries her own lunch. One child may need the comfort of a (brief!) hug and a kiss, while another may need quick reassurance that Mommy will be back before lunch.
The development of this routine is hands-on for the child as she takes on responsibilities, but pretty hands-off for the parent! This can be so challenging, but a major part of the child’s success is in making the transition of trust from the parent to the guide. Having confidence when parting from the young child sends the message that the Toddler is independent, capable, and that the guide waiting in the classroom is trustworthy.