The last few weeks were filled with a theme of dinosaurs (to scrub and to play with in a bed of tall wheat grass), lizards (to name and match), birds (to name and match), and frogs.
Next week will be more about turtles and snakes, and this is how we’ll close the school-year.
It has been a great privilege to serve your children this year!
I have seen so much growth in all of them. They all have put a smile on my face day after day with their genuine way of being and their many expressions of joy. One of the things I love so much about being with toddlers is to be a witness to their language development, and to see their own inner drive to explore, and later, as they become more conscious, to see them use the activities the way I intended.
My favorite frog song:
“Five green and speckled frogs
Sat on a hollow log
Eating the most delicious bugs – YUM YUM
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Then there were four more speckled frogs – GLUG GLUG”
I look forward to seeing some children in our school’s summer program, perhaps they’ll be moving to the 3-6 play-arts camp, perhaps they’ll be with me with the toddlers. I will be there through the 27th of June.
Whatever your summer plans, remember that the work of early childhood is “hands on”. Your child can help you with cooking and cleaning. Think about having tools their size. Also, let them have uninterrupted playtime. Alone quiet time along side you, or all by themselves is valuable. It’s OK for them to be ‘bored’. Young children won’t be bored for long! They’ll find something to do, even when you make no suggestions. It’s OK to not be available sometimes. Your children can learn to play independently for at least 10 minutes at a time. If you’re not available sometimes for the moment, they can practice self reliance! With and without your help children can learn how to be active participants in their own lives. How to focus, have vision and follow through. They have to use their imagination to make something out of ‘nothing’.
Be very conscious of any screen time. The TV or iPad will entertain your children, but it won’t teach your children how to occupy themselves, to work through small challenges, develop stamina and the ability to focus. Nothing else in life has bells and whistles to keep the child’s attention as the iPad and TV. Nothing in real life is as fast paced and exciting. Real life is about other things. It’s about becoming conscious and conscientious. It’s about becoming aware of your life and surroundings. Real life is boring sometimes, until you find something new to do. This is very grounding, and roots your child in reality. It may be hard to leave the screen off in the beginning, because your child will object and will have to learn new patterns, and you may not get big stretches of free time for you right away. But the pay-off will be big. Consider it an investment in your child’s future. As a team you will be able to help your child find their contributing role in the family. The role that defines how they belong. In which ways they are really needed and valued.
So my recommendation: If you’re home together for the summer, don’t solve the boredom with T.V. You’ll be surprised what will happen!
Do you need ideas?
- Markers and paper.
- A cardboard box.
- A flashlight and a dark room.
- A sheet over the table to make a tent.
- Listening and dancing to music.
- Pots and pans for music and pretend play.
- If you ask what would you like for breakfast and they say pancakes, say: “Great! Let’s make some. First we need a big bowl…. And eggs.”
- Pull up a chair to the sink while you’re doing dishes.
- Show them how to fold wash cloths. They can even roll their own shirts and shorts!
- Sorting laundry is a sensorial experience. Use the visual sense to discriminate colors. Sorting is also an indirect preparation for math.
- Scoop laundry detergent and set the knobs. (have a step stool handy)
- Squeeze an orange to make a smoothie.
The list is endless and the internet offers many many good articles for alternative ideas: things to do instead of watching any screen.
I promise: you will be surprised and impressed by the results!
My new theory this year is that you can double the return of your investment in Montessori if the home is an extension of the school, and the school an extension of the home.
As you plan your summer, remember that you’re preparing your child for another school year. That a well grounded child exhibits the ability to focus, knows what’s going on and learns how to orient in all environments. These years can teach your child “I know how to belong”, “I know how to work through small challenges”, and “I know how to take care of myself”.