When you decide to enroll your child in a Montessori School, you are embarking on a life long love of learning. This is a journey the whole family takes together. When the school day ends, it doesn't mean the learning has to end too! There are some simple things you can do at home to incorporate what your child is learning in school into your family. Not only are they educational, but they are fun too!
-Movement: All humans need to move. More importantly, they need to move in a way that feels natural and beneficial to them. Do you want your child to sit down and do homework right after school, but she has a case of the fidgets? Change the schedule around! Give her some free play active time before settling down to do work. Do you want your child to play baseball, but he likes to kick balls around? Try soccer instead. Follow the cues your child is exhibiting and expose them to activities that follow from those cues.
-Choice: Having a measure of control over ones' life, and day-to-day activities is something that is important to most people, and kids are no exception. Choice is something that plays a big role in a Montessori education, and it is a valuable tool at home too. Give your children a say in their schedule. You can discuss what needs to get done, and allow them to help decide when it gets done. Incorporate them into family decisions, like where to go on vacation, or what to make for dinner. Not only will you make them feel like a valuable member of the family, but you will also set them up as efficient decisions makers in the future.
-Interests: Give your child an opportunity to learn by exploring what interests them. Did you go to a museum and now dinosaurs are the big topic of conversation? Encourage this by providing ample opportunity to include this new topic of interest into other facets of learning.
-Extrinsic Motivation- This is a hard one! It's natural to want to reward your child for a job well done, or encourage desired behavior. What we want to do, though is allow the natural rewards of learning to shine through. This is something parents can encourage! If your child is knowledgable with computers, ask her for help with something computer related. If he likes to paint, enlist his help in a household painting project. This shows your child that learning makes them a valuable asset!
-Learning with and from peers: Do you host or attend a book club? Organize one for your child also. Try hosting play groups for kids to cook together, create with legos, or plant a garden. The options limitless! The kids will have a blast, and they will learn from you and each other.
-Hands on Learning: Many day-to-day tasks create opportunities for hands on learning. Turn a trip to the supermarket into a math lesson, or a doctor's appointment into a health lesson. Your children will see that there is something to learn at every turn, and errands will become a fun experience versus a chore.
-Family meetings: Have weekly meetings with your children. You can discuss how they feel about things that may have come up during the week, what they learned or want to learn, and what is coming up in the week ahead. You'll be teaching your children to think about how they feel, and express it!
-An orderly environment: A tidy and organized environment is one that is conducive to learning. Reinforce the need to clean as they go to your children. At the end of the day, have a "ten minute tidy up" to clean up loose ends. Make it fun! Play a clean up song and sing and dance your way through clean up time! Choosing Montessori School for your child is an important decision. Please contact us for help in choosing your child's next educational experience.