Montessori at home

Parents are you drowning in kids toys? Have a huge clear-out and feel the calm descend

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Many parents of young children express frustration that their house is filled with toys yet the toys don't seem to satisfy their child for more than a moment.

There are many reasons for this:

  • the activities are designed for an older child and are too difficult or they are too easy and provide no challenge at all.

  • Parts are missing or many different toys are jumbled up together

  • The tools/materials required are not on hand or they are not effective

So how can you make better use of the toys you have so your child will be able to select an activity and work with it (on their own)?

Yes, this is possible!

  1. Sort through the toys you have, discard any which are incomplete or if the pieces are lovely use them to create an entirely new activity.

  2. Decide which activities are right for your child's stage of development and interests. Remove those which are too easy or too hard

  3. Shelving: safe, child-height - shelving is vital.

  4. A designated work space (perhaps defined by an attractive mat) which contains a child-sized table and chairs.

  5. Trays / containers/ baskets which contain all the pieces of an activity.

  6. Trays / containers which are practical for containing materials which may be used in different activities e.g. scissors, paper, pencils,crayons, glue etc.

  7. Arrange the activities attractively on the shelves, categorising them where possible.

  8. You don't need to put all toys (or books )out at once, rotate some from regularly.

If these changes sound like exactly what's needed at your place, but you haven't the time or feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, don't worry because help is available, this is one of the services offered by even better parenting.

Come along to my Seminar on the 24th October and learn in greater detail how you can do this yourself at home.

The transformation will make a huge, positive difference to you all.

Lay good strong foundations early

Montessori, building strong foundations

Foundations need to be strong to be effective and long lasting.

 Right from the earliest interactions with their baby parents begin to create the the framework on which the on-going development of the child is built.

  • Have you established a  pattern of communication which is effective, open and honest?
  • Are you are really saying what you mean and can the child  understand clearly what is meant?
  • Does your child listen and respond well to your directions, if not, what might you do differently?
  • Are you, unknowingly, communicating a belief that the child cannot cope with disappointment or the belief that that they can, and will, overcome disappointment and adversity to become strong and resilient?

All of these topics are covered in practical detail in the presentation:

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Developing Resilience and Establishing Good Communication

This presentation is most suited for the parents and caregivers of children aged between (approximately) 18 months and five years.

If your organisation (or group of friends) would like to hear more on this important topic contact Paulene Richardson to arrange a presentation.

email: paulene@evenbetterparenting.com.au

mobile: 0403 226 733

Expressions of interest/queries can also be sent via this form.

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A beautiful video of a child at work

This delightful video demonstrates the capabilities of young children and the satisfaction they experience when engaged in real work.  Yes it's shot at a Montessori centre in Sweden however that's really irrelevant, the activity can be replicated anywhere.

Even more  importantly the principle of real work is easily established at home. Real work, like setting the table for a meal, watering plants, washing and cutting fruit and vegetables, washing socks, hanging out washing or cleaning and a million other things, is exactly what your child wants (and needs) to do.

If these activities are set up for the child in a way which gives the greatest possibility for success your child will gain valuable skills, experience immense satisfaction and an understanding of their own capabilities which in turn builds confidence and self-esteem.

Getting the right equipment and an appropriate work space along with a clear demonstration of the activity is necessary to enable your child to experience success. If you are able do this the rewards for your little one (and for you) will be immense.

Here's one example of how to set up an activity. If your child is  interested in helping prepare dinner you can easily set up a vegetable peeling and cutting activity.

Here are the basics which require consideration:

  • Where is the child to work? In the kitchen with you or at their table?  If it's in the kitchen what will the child stand on to work safely at bench height?

  • What will you use to designate the child's work space? A vinyl mat works well for both the kitchen and the child's table. Differentiate between mats for food prep and other activities such as craft. 

  • Buy a peeler which is a suitable size for the hand of your child and make sure it peels efficiently.

  • Choose a knife or a chopper (one which uses 2 hands is often preferred by parents, available on line), make sure it is effective.

  • A chopping board, a bowl for scraps and a bowl for prepared vegetables.

  • A sponge to clean the bench or the table after finishing the task. Colour code your sponges so ones used in food preparation are a different colour to those used for craft.

  • An apron if you want your child to wear one.

  • A tray to store all of these things on and a designated place to store the tray. This can be in a particular cupboard in the kitchen or on a shelf in the child's work area.

  • If practical, colour code all items for one particular activity.

  • Break the activity into steps (e.g.don't introduce both peeling and cutting at the same time, wait until one is mastered then introduce the next) and teach each step by demonstrating, this includes cleaning up and when ready washing up and putting things back in their designated place.

This seems like a lot but once you get the things you need, trays, sponges, child-sized utensils (available on line) and think out your storage system you will be able to set up several activities in a short-space of time.

Always make sure you have enough time to demonstrate the activity before putting it on the shelf.

If I can be of help, give me a call on 0403 226 733.

Good luck, let me know how you get on.

Paulene

8 steps to support independence

  1. Open shelves at child height with activities categorised and organised with all components needed. These activities are age and interest specific.
  2. A child sized table and chair or a Tripp Trapp chair (google it, they're fantastic) so the child can use the dining table.
  3. A step to allow access to the hand-basin / toilet. A hand-towel at the right height.
  4. A learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches for easy involvement in the preparation of food.
  5. Child safe kitchen utensils (lots available on the net) and a child sized chopping board, plus a place to work.
  6. Organise practical storage so the child can access (and put away) appropriate clothing and shoes.
  7. Purchase clothing and shoes which make it easy for the child to dress themselves and go to the toilet.
  8. Walk at a pace that allows the young child to explore their surroundings.