Summer will quickly be upon us and with it comes a big break in your child’s daily routine. A gap that needs to be filled with enriching activities that keep your child learning and engaged.
One way to fill the summer is with a camp like the one provided here at Brooksfield. Students enjoy a variety of age-appropriate activities and weekly themes that add to the learning experience.
But what if your child can’t attend a summer camp? Not to worry, there are several things you can do to make sure your child is continuing his or her education through the summer months.
Much like a regular Montessori school year, the role of the adult during a Montessori summer is to create a prepared environment that the child can independently explore. These spaces are simple, well organized, and easy for a child to navigate alone.
Create a space
To create this environment in your own home, begin by cleaning up your child’s play space. Scan the room for anything your child hasn’t played with recently and tuck it away in a closet or storage space. When your child has begun to tire of the items left in their area, rotate them out for a few that you put away earlier.
As you clean up your child’s space, look around and make sure that everything is easily accessible. Can your child reach all their toys? Is everything organized in a way that will make sense to them? Try grouping things together in different places around the room: a reading nook, a puzzle space, an art table, an area for building, etc…
Find a rhythm
Once your child’s space is organized, it’s time to create a routine or rhythm your days will usually follow. This schedule doesn’t need to be rigid, nor does it need to account for every minute of your child’s day.
A sample rhythm could be waking up for breakfast followed by some time exploring outside. Then your child can come in and help prepare their snack and eat. After that, they can spend some time playing inside.
Let them help
Because summer should also be a break from school, you can incorporate some of your child’s own ideas and goals for the months ahead. Talk with your child and write down a few things they would like to do such as visit a museum or water park, and a few goals they want to accomplish before the school year, like reading a certain number of books or mastering their bicycle. Then when your child gets antsy or bored you can redirect them to a goal or take them to someplace on their list.
If your child provides you with several things they’d like to do over the summer, write them down on bits of paper and place them into a cup or jar. The next time they say they’re bored or need something to do, let them pick one of the slips of paper from the jar. This jar can be a lifesaver because it gives them predetermined activities they can complete themselves. Some activities you can include: writing a letter to a friend or family member, making paper airplanes, creating a self-portrait, playing with moldable sand, counting different bugs in the backyard.
Not every day will go as planned, and there will be good ones and bad ones. But giving your child a sense of purpose every day will help mature emotionally and mentally.
Give them time. Give them a safe space to explore. Watch them grow.