Do you feel overwhelmed about the many things your child must learn? You may not be a teacher, but you can certainly set your child off in the right direction and help them learn. Perhaps the best place to start is by changing your perspective.
Educational expert and founder of the Montessori philosophy, Maria Montessori believed that children discover learning on their own. When provided with interesting activities and support, children don’t actually need to be taught, they begin to teach themselves. As parents, our role is to provide a stimulating environment and follow our children’s interests. How?
Let’s look at a few examples:
Toddlers Who Love Water
I could have left the heading as “toddlers”, because all toddlers love water! They are experts at finding it and getting soaked head to toe. But, why? This is the question we must ask. Toddlers are seeking a sensory experience and are also working on developing their motor skills. Water is the perfect medium in which toddlers can experience something exciting and try, experiment and test things. So, what can you do?
Allow your child to play with water. Set up the proper space and time, perhaps a sunny day, outside. Give your child a tub of water and a variety of objects such as measuring cups, cups, bowls, sieves, regular spoons and slotted spoons. Your child will learn so much about how each object works, how spills happen and will even dabble into understanding measurements.
Preschoolers Who Love A Superhero or Princess
Many preschoolers and kindergartners become obsessed with a superhero or princess they’ve seen on TV or in a movie. How can we create a moment of learning out of this interest? Take the time to discuss reality and fantasy with your child. This is a very important lesson that can help your child think about how real life is different than the programs he or she watches.
Read or tell your child two stories, one that could happen in real life and one that is fantastical. For example, a story about a little girl who enjoys playing soccer is realistic. A story about a fire-breathing dragon who lives on the moon is fantastical. Ask your child about the differences between the two stories and determine which one could happen in real life and which one couldn’t. Then, draw pictures of realistic story themes on one piece of paper, and pictures of fantastical story themes on another piece of paper.
Any time you spend with your child solving problems, creating art projects or involving them in doing normal chores such as meal preparation or cleaning is time well-spent. These are also educational moments, in which your child not only learns valuable skills, but also how to contribute to a household and be helpful.
How do you teach your child? We’d love to hear from you!