August and September can often feel like a blur as families and teachers alike prepare for another school year. Children may be experiencing feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about new classrooms, teachers and friends. How can we help our youngest students through these first few weeks of school? Here are five tips for families looking to help their children feel more confident and prepared upon returning to school in the fall.
1. Encourage Independence: Allow your child ample time to do things for themselves. Montessori is all about promoting independence in children. By creating a home environment where the child can do most things independent of the adult, the child develops confidence and self-help skills. With a little patience on the part of the adult, giving a child the opportunity to accomplish a task on their own is a gift that will benefit them throughout his or her life.
2. Making Mistakes: It is okay for children to make mistakes and experience failure. Let’s say that again! It’s okay for children to make mistakes and experience failure! Too often these days, children are protected from feelings of failure and disappointment by a well-meaning adult stepping in to solve the problem before the child has a chance to do so on their own. Instead of stepping in too soon, take a step back and observe your child as they work their way through a problem.
3. Down Time: Provide your child with plenty of quiet time, uninterrupted by television, computers and hectic schedules. Being considerate of not interrupting your child when they are absorbed in an activity is also a great way to help them develop concentration.
4. Order: Montessori classrooms are orderly places where a child knows what to expect. An orderly environment is very soothing for young children and allows them to feel comfortable and confident. By creating an orderly home environment with a predictable daily routine, your child will benefit from the calm that this creates.
5. Get Outside: Time in nature is proven to reduce stress and improve moods and behavior. Make it a point to get outside with your child as often as possible for a walk or a trip to the park. Taking time to share with your child all that you can observe in nature provides a wonderful chance to bond with one another.