In this time of heightened collective responsibility around the Corona virus and with school closures being the norm, what children need the most is consistency and stability. These times also provide parents the ability to indulge, hence rhythm and routines may more so be driven by them then the children…, in the process what get’s missed is the order of the child or if not the parent may feel completely drained and wasted by the end of the day…
As part of this blog today we will like to make the best of this opportunity in disguise and indulge a little more in the early age pedagogy of our choice.
The key to a Montessori child is to “follow the child.”
What this means is to take a stock of your home and check if the child is empowered to lead. We are not asking you to replicate a Montessori set-up at home but asking you to enable the child. This requires both organization/order and an awareness of a rhythm/routine.
- Is there a clearly defined area where the child can exercise their desire.
- Is this area equipped with a set-up, where the toys and materials can be rotated. Clearly defined stations on accessible shelves or corners of room for musical instruments, language enrichment (eg.: books, pencils, erasers), sensorial play (eg.: blocks), math adventures, culture (eg.: maps), art (eg.:colours, sponges, paint, brushes) and toys will help contribute to the order and organization in the child’s mind. The emphasis should be to keep it minimal and interesting, enabling the child to exercise choice at the same time take responsibility.
- Are available brooms, dust pan, dusting cloths, mops and other kitchen utensils that are perfect for them. A stool that can be easily handled and moved to rise up to a sink if need be. Easily accessible healthy snack and fruits to exercise the will to eat.
- Is the house child proof to allow the child to freely move about, bring out their material and wind up when done.
- Is their an easy access to books in the sleeping area for the child to be motivated and indulge in comfortable reading.
- Are the bathrooms equipped with child friendly supplies and clothes organised in a tidy manner for easy access to allow the child to exercise independence and clean-up after them.
Maria Montessori identified that the ideal work periods should be three hours long. We suggest you divide the working hours in three hour periods for a basic structure. These periods can then be classified as: Care for self and environment, independent work time, collective time, quiet time, wind down time.
The routine or rhythm and the repetitiveness or split of these work periods can be different for different households. The idea here is to develop independence, respect for others, responsibility and most of all individual space.
Care for self and environment:
This period can include independent wake up time, daily personal chores, breakfast preparation and eating, participating in cleaning routine of the household.
Independent work time:
This period enables every member in the family to prioritise and exercise their wish.
This period can include meal preparations, focus work time, play time.
The idea of this time is to ofcourse create a rest period for the younger children but also respect for needs of the elderly or sick in the family.
Wind down time:
This period enables a soft end to the day with clean-up if required, personal end-of-the day chores, reflections, planning for the next day, setting expectations and prayers.
Let’s grab this opportunity and organise the day-to-day rhythm for not only the children but everyone in the family.