I can do it all by myself!

With the new school year, we have a lot of new little friends who have joined our toddler classrooms. Naturally, this can be an anxious time for children and parents alike. Many of these children may be leaving mom or dad for the first time, and even for experienced daycare children, a Montessori classroom is an entirely new experience. They are taking a step in growing up, in becoming independent young people, and we do our best to make it a great experience for them.

That’s why we are so excited when we receive reports like this from Judi Chimits at our Mission Viejo Campus:

Parent Marcie U. said that her son, Dylan, who just started in Pre-primary (our toddler program) last week, is already starting to do things for himself at home. He’s pushing in chairs, putting things away, and he tried to put his cup in the sink (he’s too short and it spilled everywhere, but he tried to do it himself)!

I particularly love these stories of budding independence with our youngest students; they exemplify what’s at the core of the Montessori preschool philosophy of education. As Dr. Montessori explains:

If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate them to those kinds of activities which they can perform themselves and which keep them from being a burden to others because of their inabilities. We must help them to learn how to … go up and down stairs, to wash themselves, to express their needs in a way that is clearly understood, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of an education for independence.

Everyone knows that it requires much more time and patience to teach a child how to eat, wash and clothe himself than it does to feed, bathe and clothe him by oneself.

The one who does the former is an educator…

Tomorrow, I’ll be giving a Parent Education Seminar at our Yorba Linda campus titled: “Help Me Help Myself—Montessori Techniques for Fostering Independence”. It’s all about how we as parents can help toddlers and preschoolers do more for themselves.

It’s truly wonderful to see all these children coming into our school,  eagerly learning these important life skills and even more importantly, developing a confidence in their ability to deal independently with the world that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Welcome, young friends: we love to have you with us!

Heike Larson