Montessori Moments: Empowering Kids for Self, Others, & Earth
Montessori education is a child-centred approach to learning that emphasises independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's natural psychological, physical, and social development. One of the key areas that Montessori education focuses on is self-care.
In a Montessori classroom, children are given the opportunity to learn how to take care of themselves from a young age. They are taught how to brush their teeth, wash their hands, dress themselves, and use the toilet independently. This helps them to develop a sense of independence and self-confidence.
Additionally, children are encouraged to complete tasks by themselves with an adult by their side as guidance and emotional support. This encourages them to take risks and engage in trial and error scenarios. For example, putting on shoes may require Velcro, looping through fabric or shoe laces. Children are taught these fastenings using Dressing Frames which focus primarily on developing these skills to support their self-care and independence.
In addition to self-care, Montessori education also emphasises independence in other areas of learning. Children are given the freedom to choose their own activities and work at their own pace. They are also encouraged to ask questions and explore their environment. This helps them to develop a sense of agency and ownership over their own learning.
Montessori education also teaches children about sustainability. Children are taught about the importance of taking care of the environment and making responsible choices. They are also given the opportunity to learn about different ways to live sustainably. This helps them to develop a sense of responsibility for the planet and its future.
For example, after mealtimes, children are encouraged to dispose of any waste in the correct bins such as ‘general’, glass and paper bins. Additionally, children are also encouraged to look after their environment. Whether it be cleaning up after themselves at the Art table ready for their next friend, or watering a plant, children are taught to respect the environment and other beings around them.
Montessori education also empowers children to drive change. Children are taught how to think critically and solve problems. They are also encouraged to be creative and innovative. This helps them to develop the skills they need to make a difference in the world.
How to encourage your little one’s self-care and independence sustainably at home:
The principles of Montessori education can be applied at home to help children learn about self-care, independence, sustainability, and driving change.
Here are a few ideas:
Set up a self-care station. This could include a mirror, a sink, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush, and a comb. Let your little one child know that they are responsible for taking care of their own personal hygiene.
Give your child choices. When you are doing activities together, such as cooking or cleaning, give your child choices about what they would like to do. This will help them to feel like they have some control over their own lives.
Talk to your little one about sustainability. Explain the importance of taking care of the environment and making responsible choices. You can also do activities together, such as recycling or composting, to help them learn more about sustainability.
Encourage your little one to be creative and innovative. Provide them with opportunities to explore their creativity and come up with new ideas. You can also ask them questions about how they would solve problems or make the world a better place.
Set up a drink station. Include a few of their cups, a small jug, a sponge or cloth. This is a great way to encourage your little one to help themselves to water when they want a drink, without having to ask you. Additionally, the sponge and cloth will also encourage them to clean up after themselves.
Create a space for your little one’s shoes. This is a simple way to support your little one’s independence. When you put your shoes on in the same area, your little one is likely to copy you and want to join in. Remember, give them time and be patient with them. If they put them on the ‘wrong foot’, say “Well done for trying, you did a great job. I think you might be more comfortable if they were on the other way round, would you like to try again?” instead of “No, that’s wrong”. The first response is more positive and will support their confidence.
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