Parent Night: Psychology in Early Childhood
October 30th, 5:45-7:00 pm
What’s a locus of control? Why is my child cleaning all the time? What does independence have to do with development outcomes? What the heck is “Positive Discipline?” We’ll talk about all these things and more at our next parent meeting, just a little less than two weeks away on Tuesday, October 30th. We’ll be in the main classroom from 5:45-7 and serve light refreshments for an adult only conversation about some of the Psychology in Early Childhood.
As for September’s parent night……..
At our last parent discussion we talked about independence and things different families have done to shift responsibility for every day life down to the children. I hope the conversation was as useful to the rest of the participants as it was to me and Erin Schwartz, Luca Oztriech’s mother. We used the evening as an idea session for Erin’s upcoming Rosh Hashana lesson. Our main take away was the idea of preparation, of ourselves and the children, as the key to activities that leave a child feeling satisfied and autonomous.
We always stress movement based learning in a Montessori classroom and the Oztriech’s chose Rosh Hashanah, in part, because of the tangible rituals involved, the one that we focused on was preparing and eating apples and honey for a “sweet New Year.” As you continue, keep in mind special days on your family calendar that involve meaningful rituals or preparation. My goal in this article is to leave everyone reading ready to take at least one step towards greater independence at home.
Preparation has to happen in three parts: the child, the activity, and ourselves.
Preparing the Child
Montessori warned that we must give a child the tools to succeed before the opportunity to fail. We thought a lot about preparation in terms of preparing the group. For a week during our afternoon circle we talked about when Erin would come, about bees working hard to make us honey, and how we would work hard to cut apples to eat with it for a sweet new year.
So when Erin came the children knew why she was there, what they’d learn. These conversations and activities primed the children’s interest and understanding. This sort of preparation is the same idea behind the use of advance organizers in later learning, your brain is better able to process information when it already has containers to put it in.
Erin did the same thing at home, she kept inclusion and independence in mind while the family prepared for their home celebration and the first step was the mental preparation. They talked about previous Rosh Hashana’s, the food they ate, the guests who came, the cleaning to be done and when it was time to do all those things, Luca participated with relish and anticipation for being his mother’s “special helper” when she came to school.
Preparing the Activity and Adult
An interested and able helper is important but to really gauge if what we’re asking a child to do is within their ability (or just slightly outside in that proximal zone where magic happens) we have to be clear about the task at hand. We give them the best chance of success if we know, before we start, what we want them to do, how we want them to do it, and make sure we have all the requisite tools available.
What’s more, if we’re honest about our patience and planning we’re more likely to be the patient and neutral observer who has the bandwidth to notice what help is absolutely essential and the restraint to avoid giving that which is not. Saturday morning with nothing to do is a great time to make a mess just to practice cleaning it up, Tuesday morning may be a time when it’s just fine to help your child do something they know how to do.
As a last note, I’d like to encourage you to take a Saturday to play with introducing more responsibility. Do it in a big way by letting your child help you on a home project or in a small way—even if all you do is spill a pitcher of water on the floor, enjoy the mess, and demonstrate blotting vs. wiping you’re setting up the foundation for a number of opportunities for your child to experience the real world, cause and effect, logical sequence, and develop a real sense of worth and contribution.
And to help you all out with trying some of this, I’ve done a bit of the process planning in a hand out on encouraging independence at home. There’s a list on the second page of excellent preschool “chores,” along with suggested materials. Because those materials lend themselves to slightly different processes than we’d normally use for, say, washing the floor (hint, there’s no mop!) I’d suggest trying it first yourself before demonstrating it to your child.
Now, get out there and clean house, it’s educational!
Pumpkin Patch Field Trip
Children must have an adult chaparone to attend, please see the field trip sheet and map attached to the blog post. School will be open from 7-10:30 am and closed from 10:30-1:30.
Halloween party–Tuesday, October 31
- Our class Halloween party is open to all our students so please feel free to bring your child to school (in costume!) from 9:15-11 whether or not they’re scheduled to attend on Wednesday the 31st.
- The halloween party is a morning event, please send a set of normal clothes to change into.
- Any parent with the morning free is welcome to attend–we’ll appreciate volunteers when it’s time to change out of costumes–but that’s optional and otherwise all you have to do is send your child to school in costume.
Things to Know
- Please avoid chocolate treats for birthday celebrations, we have a child with a chocolate allergy and it’s easier to have one kind of treat.
- The founders of Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, Anne Frank and your child have something in common—a Montessori education.
On the Horizon
October 26th—Pumpkin Patch Field Trip: No school from 10:30 am-1:30 pm
October 30th—5:45-7 pm Parent Night: Psychology in Early Childhood
October 31st—Class Halloween Party: Just send them to school dressed up, otherwise a normal day
November 12th— Veteran’s Day: No school
November 30th—Parent Teacher Conferences: No School