Observation is the cornerstone for connecting the children to our carefully prepared Montessori classrooms. We invite our families to observe their children prior to conferences and in preparation for transitions from one program level to the next. In addition, our parents stay connected to the classroom happenings through blog entries, often viewing them with their children to encourage sharing about their days. Here’s a sample of a couple typical blogs.
Here are samples of a typical blog:
Fine Motor Skills
Babies grasp objects, seeking to understand their world via exploration. Intrigued by very small objects, toddlers begin fine tuning their grasping skills as they attempt to pick up these smaller items. The objective of some classroom materials is to foster hand strength and hand-eye coordination. For example, scooping beans and using a pincer grasp to pick up a stray bean, delicately retrieving the smallest nesting box to place on top of the other nine, rolling a rug, and slicing a banana all work to enhance their fine motor skills. We are always looking for opportunities to strengthen these skills within the Toddler program.
“We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
One of the main goals of our environment is to allow the children to be as independent as possible. Great caution is taken on determining material placement in order to allow the children the most freedom to complete tasks for themselves. For example, if a child would like to paint or use one of the art materials, they need to retrieve the necessary materials in order to complete their work. For example, in painting they need to put on their smock, hang a piece of paper on the easel, write their name (or have an adult do it), choose a brush and paint, paint their picture, hang it up to dry, retrieve water to clean the easel, clean the easel, empty the water, dry the easel and bucket, and hang up their smock. That requires a great deal of thinking and planning to execute those many steps in the required order!
Of course, we are there to provide any assistance that is needed, but the ultimate goal is to help the children be successful on their own. It is a true delight to see their pride upon realizing they completed a task on their own without help from anyone else. When a child expresses interest in doing things independently at home, freedom to do so should be encouraged. Getting themselves dressed in the morning or after toileting, helping with meal preparations, and cleaning up the house are just a few examples of everyday opportunities to promote your children’s independence.