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Happy Thanksgiving, from our HBMH family to yours!
Today was a day filled with fun, food, and friends! We celebrated the holiday with baking, craft making, reading Thanksgiving books, and of course, our traditional feast.
Our Apple friends made place mats, describing what they’re most thankful for.Our friends enjoyed tasty chicken, corn, vegetables, delicious sweet potatoes, cranberries, with muffins and pumpkin pie for dessert. – Thank you Ms. Tami for creating our feast (and Apple & Pear children for baking our tasty deserts!)
Tiny fingers explore new textures of the fruits and vegetables.
“Here, let me help you.”
These words, while innocent enough, can interfere a great deal in a child’s development. It’s natural for us as adults to want to interfere and offer assistance when a child is struggling to carry a heavy, full water pitcher, or can’t put on their coat and shoes by themselves at the end of the day. It’s just what we do as parents and educators; to protect our precious little ones whenever they’re struggling, hurt, or going through a hardship. We need to, however, ask ourselves this question, am I really helping them?
I can share a personal example (among many), of my son and his struggle with independence.
While dressing himself this morning, and putting on his shoes, I reached over, “Here, just let me help you.” At the time, I did not realize the harm my interfering had caused. I did not see the disappointment in his eyes as I took his shoe and hurried to put it on his foot.
Our mornings are generally rushed, eating a quick breakfast, grooming, dressing, feeding/walking the dog, getting bottles/cloth diapers ready for sister, etcetera, etcetera…there’s very little time allotted for my son to put each article of clothing on his body by himself.
I replenish a “changing basket” in my son’s room every night, complete with a few pairs of pants, shirts, socks and underwear so that he can choose what to wear for himself in the morning. I’ll give him between 20-30 minutes to dress himself, which usually ends in me pulling his shirt over his head, or putting on his shoes because, I’m sorry my dear, but we just don’t have all day! I’ve recently discovered that because of this, he is now dependent upon me to finish getting dressed. He will follow me around the house with his shoes, waiting for me to put them on his little feet. If I can’t help him immediately, he will resort to crying or try to get my attention in a negative way. It’s as if I’ve set such high expectations for him to put his shoes on, and why not, I’ve made it clear that he needs an adult’s help to do so, through my impatient actions. So the way I see it, I haven’t really helped him during his morning routine. Instead, I’ve damaged his independence, and made him more reliable on me. Granted, he is 2.5 years, and may need help with some of his day to day tasks, but I can confidently say that dressing himself is a task that he can do all by himself.
Dr. Maria Montessori said, “The task of the child is the formation of man”. In the earliest years, the child is forming the kind of person they’ll be for the rest of their life. They will refine fine and gross motor skills, learn how to cope with different emotions, experience social interactions, conflict resolution, and so forth, all with a strong emphasis on independence. They can achieve this independence by working in an environment, well-equipped with tools they can use, free from adult interaction. Montessori guides strive to be “invisible”, letting the materials teach and manipulate their student’s young mind. Through works in “practical life” (care of environment, care of self, care of others, etc.), the child learns to control his movements, they develope concentration, self-discipline, control of error, scope of sequence, and so many other qualities that can further strengthen their independence.
Self discipline is key to a child’s independence. Children who have developed internal self-discipline, have the freedom to enjoy independence. We need to allow the child to develop self-discipline on their own terms; they need that internal struggle in order to grow independently. Self discipline comes about through a child’s concentration, and their ability to successfully complete a challenging task.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
We all love our children and want to nurture them, overload them with love and affection, and help them at all times. By doing too much for our children, we take away their ability to learn independently. By following your child’s natural rhythm of learning, and allowing them to experience obstacles for themselves, they will become more intelligent, better-coordinated, disciplined, self-sufficient young children, well equipped with the knowledge to solve problems on their own. Do not feel guilty to let them make mistakes, and learn through “control of error”.
A BIG thank you to our entire community for coming out to our recent Fall Festival; we had a record turn-out this year! This has always been a successful fundraiser for us. It gets better and better every year. Thank you all for coming out and supporting our school!
Face painting, henna art and hair/nail salon was a big hit!
Thank you, Ms. Insiya for creating such lovely henna for our guests! Visit Insiya’s Temporary Body Art homepage for background on her beautiful work.
Of course, everyone’s costumes were nothing short of amazing.
Our First Annual Chili Cook-Off was a huge success! Congrats to Ms. Maya for winning on overall presentation and flavor of chili! Thank you to all of our participants!
Thanks to Jay’s help, our concessions this year included smoked ribs, chicken, and hot dogs…yum!
The petting zoo came fully equipped with chickens, roosters, a calf, piglets, bunnies, and a few other furry friends.
Mr. Monty was the “tractor conductor” and towed the kids in the barrels all night. They absolutely loved it!
We had THREE bounce houses this time, which included obstacle courses and slides.
Another “congratulations” goes to all of our silent auction basket winners. With your help, we raised over $1,800!
Plenty of smiles to go around! This had to have been one of the funnest fall festivals yet.
On behalf of the entire HBMH community, thank you to all who came out and supported our school. This event is always the largest fundraiser of the year for us. With your continued support, we raised funds that will go towards the growth and improvement of our school!
What, No Briefcase? Montessori and Paperwork
Montessori parents are often bewildered by the lack of paperwork coming home with their child. There’s hardly any! So what does my child do all day? What can he be possibly learning?
For most of us our school experience was a blizzard of paper work – spaces to fill in, lines to write, dots to connect. Pages upon pages of busy work that hopefully conveyed to parents that we were learning. Much of it was redundant, boring and the waste of a good tree! But that was the measure for parents that learning was happening.
You’ve now entered a new universe when you chose a Montessori program. You didn’t choose Montessori because it resembled your learning experience but because it represented the learning experience you wished you’d been privileged to have. When you visit the environment your eyes feast on amazing materials – colors, shapes, complexities. Is this material really for my three year old or four year old – isosceles triangles, quatrefoils, reniform leaf shapes? Does he really touch it and feel it and use it? But when there is no paper trail coming home, you wonder!
Socrates said, “There is nothing in the mind that is not first in the hands.” And it is the touching of these concrete materials that begins the building of the mental processes in your child. Traditional education begins with intellectual development hoping to make the abstract concrete. Montessori education begins with the development and refining of the senses, allowing your child to build this concrete knowledge one step at a time until he is ready and poised to make the great intellectual leap into the abstract. In Montessori education, it is the child’s own developmental timetable that causes this explosion of solid (and unprecedented) learning to occur. It is not an artificial timetable based on age or calendar but a continual cultivation and development of the child’s growing intellectual power that is being fed day by day in a manner that allows your child to appropriate and practice the tools and skills that will form his intellectual abilities for a lifetime.
All this time the child is building within himself this intellectual capability. Montessori education is very much like the construction of a jetty. Rock after rock is submerged in the water, seemingly lost beneath the surface but then the day comes when the latest rocks begin to become visible and break the water’s plane. Your child is building a very concrete foundation for all further intellectual development one achievement at a time.
Celebrating the “Festival of Lights” in style by decorating lamps and making Rangolis in our primary community.