One of the main tenets of Montessori teaching is independence.
Right now, many parents are facing a problem they’ve never dealt with before – there’s no school, no summer school activities, and many kids are spending long periods of time indoors. All this with many parents having to work from home while trying to balance child care.
There’s never been a better time to instill a little independence in your child’s play and learning than now.
In Montessori programming, the role of the parent during summer vacation is simply to set up an environment and let the child entertain themselves. It may seem anti-intuitive, but a great way to cut out summer boredom is to put away toys your child hasn’t played with in some time.
The key to a successful Montessori-style summer play area is simplicity and organization. Sometimes, an overabundance of choice can make kids bored whereas a smaller selection can work.
Activities for a Fun Summer
1. Create an Art Area
Independence starts with access. Your child will have a much easier time concentrating on their art and creativity if they have all of their supplies within arms reach. Setting up a desk or small shelf for your child to use for their art projects can help them focus and also increase their appreciation for their own work.
Your job in this case is merely to set out the supplies your child will need to get creative. You can set up a tray with oil pastels, paper, a paintbrush, an apron, a water cup, and other creative tools. You can switch out the supplies your child uses throughout the summer to keep things fresh.
The first time your child uses their art area, make sure to show them the steps they should take to play and clean up after themselves. Show them how to clean up and what to do with their work when it’s finished.
2. Make a Nature and Science Center
Similar to the art area, a nature and science center can give your child the power to choose their own activities and play independently.
Choose a desk or shelf where you can set up books about animals, geography, plants, and any other subjects your child expresses an interest in. You can include a box or basket for your child to use to store a nature collection of things like feathers and rocks.
Consider giving your child a magnifying glass so they can explore their treasures. Magnets and other science kits can also be a bunch of fun.
3. Set up a Food Prep Drawer
Making food is a favorite activity amongst kids of all ages. You may not think that your child should be left to their own devices in the kitchen, but there are food prep activities your child can do with some supervision.
Again, this activity starts with setting up a designated food prep area for your child. Choose a drawer or shelf that your child can use to store their kitchen tools and activities. A few good activities you could show your child include peeling oranges, cherry pitting, slicing carrots and cucumbers using a wavy slicer, egg peeling, banana peeling and slicing.
As your child grows, they can move onto things like making guacamole or using a toaster oven to bake their own bread. Make sure that your child always knows how to clean up after themselves.
Teaching independence at this level will help to make them feel empowered to choose their own activities and be responsible for their own actions.
Changing the Lives of Children in McAllen
School may be out of session, but that doesn’t mean learning has to stop. Setting up independent learning and play areas for your child is a great way to let them play in a structured setting despite the uncertainty and chaos caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Every child has their own way of learning and allowing them to choose their own activities ensures that they will be able to fully explore their interests.
If you’re considering whether or not the Montessori learning style may be best for your child, don’t hesitate to contact Kids Village Montessori in McAllen. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to getting to know you and your child.
We believe that each child should have a chance to learn independently and fulfill their potential.