Teaching Independence the Montessori Way
Oftentimes parents ask, “What can we do at home to help our child become more successful at school?”. Well, the answer is simple: never do for your child what he or she can do for him – or herself. We believe the best thing teachers and parents can do is help their child become more independent.
How can parents do this? From a limited selection of two or three outfits, allow small children to choose their clothes for the next day. Purchase items that children can easily put on, such as shoes with Velcro or zippers; give them lessons on how to dress themselves. Assign them small chores, such as clearing the dinner dishes or sweeping the kitchen floor with their own small tools. Believe it or not, children as young as five years old can learn to wake up on their own with an alarm clock and be dressed before their parents!
It is important to keep in mind that with young children the product or outcome is not the real issue; it is the act of performing constructive, helpful things that should be the main focus. Performing these activities will bring them a new sense of confidence and will help them develop their conscientiousness in caring for the environment.
We realize in today’s fast-paced world it is often easier and faster to do things ourselves, but we need to remember that we, as parents and teachers, will not always be there when our children are faced with making decisions. The more independent and confident you child is, the more likely he or she will be able to make the right choices.
As a parent, you want your child to have discipline and an understanding of free choice. Our goal as educators is for our students to choose wisely which lessons and from which areas of the classroom they will work. How does a child learn such responsibility? Our aim is for the children to be independent and to be able to work out problems for themselves. This is why many of our materials are self-correcting. Our students have the freedom to check their work and, if they choose, they may repeat particular lessons again and again until they find their mistakes or obtain satisfaction.
When are we the most receptive to learning? Children are the most receptive to learning when they choose their own work and teach themselves. We’re sure many parents already do this at home, and would like to encourage you to continue to do so.
We believe it is important for us as a society to contribute to the future of all mankind with independent, free-thinking, creative problem solving children who will grow into independent, free-thinking, creative problem solving adults.