Developing Young Children’s Self-Regulation through Everyday Experiences, Ida Rose Florez

self regulation

According to Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making, regulating one’s thinking, emotions, and behavior is critical for success in school, work, and life (2010). A child who stops playing and begins cleaning up when asked or spontaneously shares a toy with a classmate, has regulated thoughts, emotions, and behavior (Bronson 2000).

From infancy, humans automatically look in the direction of a new or loud sound. Many other regulatory functions become automatic, but only after a period of intentional use. On the other hand, intentional practice is required to learn how to regulate and coordinate the balance and motor movements needed to ride a bike. Typically, once one learns, the skill becomes automatic.

The process of moving from intentional to automatic regulation is called internalization. Some regulated functions, such as greeting others appropriately or gollowing a sequence to solve a math problem, always require intentional effort. It is not surprising then that research has found that young children who engage in intentional self-regulation learn more and go further in their education (Blair & Diamond 2008).

To read the article in full, click on the link below:

https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201107/Self-Regulation_Florez_OnlineJuly2011.pdf

Flower Arranging

flower arranging

It’s not uncommon to see small flower arrangements adorning tables in a Montessori classroom. This is a work called “flower arranging”, and is a favorite for any young child. Each week, our families participate in a “flower basket” program, and bring fresh flowers for the classroom on a rotating basis. The flowers are then used for flower arranging. It’s impressive to watch a child carefully engage in this exercise. They start with putting on an apron, and then fetch water in the small pitcher provided. Now, they must control their movement while walking across the room without spilling water. If there is any water left in their small pitcher, they pour it into the tiny funnel placed in a small vase. They repeat this step several times until the vase is full. Once the flowers have been arranged, the child will display them on the shelf.  Sometimes, they change the location of the vases throughout the work cycle.  Now, they must restore the work area in it’s original condition.  Cleaning up is a big job. They must dump and wipe up all extra water on the table, then Swiffer the excess water from the floor which is usually a large area.  It’s not uncommon for a child to be engaged in this work for over an hour.

What are they learning while arranging flowers? They are refining gross and fine motor skills, concentration, self-regulation, control of movement, sequencing, eye-and-hand coordination and practical life skills.

In the toddler community the focus is on “care of self”, “care of environment” and “grace and courtesy”. Activities such as this help the children work with purpose and concentration as they move about the classroom.

“A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.” -Dr. Maria Montessori