Why Should The Child Attend School Before Age Six?
The first step in a Montessori education addresses itself to early childhood education and lays a foundation for how a child will learn throughout his/her life. A Montessori preschool is neither a baby-sitting service nor a regimented place where children are forced to achieve. We offer the child the opportunity to develop individually within a carefully defined structure. School is a natural and enjoyable experience.
Furthermore, the Montessori philosophy regards the years from birth to six as crucial in a child’s development. It is during this time that children have sensitive periods. This differs from a critical period. A sensitive period is one in which a child has a natural desire to acquire a particular trait or skill. He/she will occupy himself/herself with particular activities with an interest and concentration he/she will never again display for that particular activity. Unlike a critical period in which he/she must acquire the skill during that time or she will never acquire it, a sensitive period is one in which a child desires to accomplish a particular task. He/she could learn how to master that same task at a later time, but not with the same fervor, zeal and ease of the sensitive period.
Some examples of sensitive periods: Two-and-one-half and three-year-old children are usually in a sensitive period for order. If certain objects are not in their usual places, a young child will rearrange them until they are. It is also speculated that humor originates from this sensitivity. For example, if an adult put a vase on his head and called it a hat, a young child might be confused. She has recently learned in the order of our universe that vases are for flowers and hats are for heads. However, a four or five-year-old might find it amusing because the adult has deviated from the order the child knows well.
Four and five-year-old are in a sensitive period for writing. Parents also have reported that at a particular time their child will go through reams of paper printing numbers and letters. Their child really wants to perfect that skill. The length of this period varies and it is a transitory one. Once it is over, the child will still want to print numbers and letters, but not with the same fervor of the original period. Teachers have also observed children who were in a sensitive period for learning the sounds of letters. Each day some children would come to school and want to work on the letter sounds to the exclusion of other activities.
There are various sensitive periods. A parent or teacher cannot create a sensitive period in a child; however, the adult can follow and help the child to develop his/her interests. The Montessori school aids the child by providing opportunities for his/her to accomplish the tasks that are important to his/her at a given time. A traditional school, with time blocks for subjects and a curriculum into which each child must fit is not always able to help a child develop his/her interests and sensitivities.
So you want to do Montessori in the home but aren’t sure where to start. Perhaps you’ve toured a Montessori classroom, beautifully prepared with neat shelves of learning materials and thought, “if they can do it with 17 kids, certainly I can do it with just one!”
Well, I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is you can’t replicate the Photoshopped fantasy nor the carefully managed classroom. The good news is you aren’t supposed to. Montessori is much more a philosophy of child development than a set of things to do. Plus, you’re doing it in your home — under real world conditions. Expect the mess.
So where does that leave the aspiring Montessorian?
Mastering the philosophy can be a life’s pursuit, but there are a few tips you can incorporate right away to help you along the way.
#1. Follow your child
This is number one for a reason. Learning new skills will not occur without your child’s interest. Following your child means seriously observing your child’s stage of development.
What toys does your child keep coming back to over and over? What is he/she trying to do? Learning to crawl? Pouring and spilling water everywhere? Spending hours turning the pages of a book? Going to the potty to (ahem) play in it? Catching bugs constantly? Picking out a shirt to wear, discarding it, only to put on another shirt?
I can’t tell you what activities to focus on in your Montessori home because that’s your child’s job. Many classroom teachers will tell you that they can’t truly design the shelves without meeting the children and observing them. This is even more important for you, Montessori parent, because unlike a classroom filled with child centered, ready made curricula, you are incorporating your child into a family-centric environment.
You most likely have limited resources and space, so focus on your child’s interests. You can (and will!) change the environment as your child grows older and has different needs. Write down a list of your child’s current obsessions, whether it be banging pots, throwing blocks, or matching colors, and ask yourself, “What is he/she trying to learn from this behavior?”
#2. Invest in shelves and baskets
While you’re not likely to achieve immaculate, you do want to make your Montessori environment as organized and peaceful as reasonable. It also keeps your house from becoming too cluttered with random kid stuff because you can’t stuff everything on a few shelves like you can in, say, a toy chest or some bins.
“Unlike toy chests, shelves naturally encourage you to limit quantity.”
Remember, you don’t have to get everything at once. Start with baskets and shelves. You won’t be disappointed.
#3. Choose some of your child’s nicest toys
Toys are fine when the quality and quantity is appropriate. If adding toys, pick ones your child loves; that inspire and nurture; and (if at all possible) are beautiful and made of natural materials. Likewise, steer clear of flashy, noisy, battery-operated toys as much as possible and focus on toys that spark your child’s imagination.
And the toys that you aren’t choosing to put on your beautiful shelves? You don’t have to throw the rest away, but do keep them away from your child’s shelves, hidden wherever you have available.
And if you find yourself acquiring a massive amount of toys, it’s a great idea to donate them.
#4. Limit quantity
If you have a toddler, you probably won’t be needing all 286 blocks that came with the set. You might need about 20. Just enough to stack into towers and topple down. You also don’t want to crowd your shelves.
Are you wondering how many toys to put out at a time? I can’t tell you that, but your child will.
You also might want to select one type of toy and rotate within the category. For example, if you have a lot of puzzle or different sets of building blocks, consider displaying one or two and put the rest away for now.
#5. Get Support
You can’t make this journey alone. You need help! Start with spouses, partners, or others who are actively participating in raising your child, such as grandparents. The goal is to have a shared vision for what Montessori in your home looks like.
Go further, though, and reach out to friends and other parents. Talk to them about what you’re doing, even if you aren’t completely confident in it. In fact, talking about it will help you better understand your own perspective and dissolve the feeling of isolation so common in parenting.
If you haven’t experienced one, you will have witnessed one. A child having a temper tantrum can challenge even the calmest of parents. Things can be fine one minute and the next it appears that an unknown being has inhabited your child. Knowing what to do can be the difference between you throwing one yourself and it being a growing experience.
What a tantrum IS
• Loss of control of feelings
• Inability to express a problem in words
• Lack of problem-solving skills
• Normal stage in child development
What a tantrum IS NOT
• A deliberate attempt to make your life hell
• Deliberately designed to embarrass you in public
Why do children have tantrums?
Because they work! Giving in to tantrums means your child learns that the best way to get what they want is to have a tantrum – this will just make tantrums occur more often and for longer periods of time.
Tips for cutting down tantrums
1. Set appropriate boundaries and limits – make it clear to your child what behaviours are expected.
5. Avoid negative words – constantly saying “no” will add to your child’s frustration. Instead use phrases like “later”, or “after lunch”.
6. Help children ask for what they need by putting it into words. For example “Mum, can I please have …..”
7. Offer realistic choices by being prepared to follow through on your child’s choice.
8. Use positive parenting – give plenty of praise and attention for helpful and appropriate behaviour you want to keep seeing from your child, for example “Well done Tommy, it’s great when you use your manners”.
Learning how to tackle tantrums is an invaluable tool that will prevent you from feeling like you want to tear your hair out.
How much easier would life be if you felt more confident managing tantrums?
Kindly refer :
Do you get a little panic when your friends or relatives give food to your little ones without asking for your consent? In my opinion, I would say it is absolutely acceptable to politely remind your friends and relatives about your little ones’ food allergies and your personal preference of “please ask me before giving food to my child”.
Here is a list of festive snacks that adults cannot resist but not necessarily healthy snacks for children:
Flavoured dried plums
The tasteful flavoured dried plums are irrisistible (for adults). Did you know that it is actually made of lots of artificial flavoring and preservatives? Take a look at the ingredients list and I’m sure you can find very little natural ingredients.
It is bad for children as children’s detoxification system is yet to be mature. Moreover, children might risk swallowing the small seeds, a serious choking hazard.
Salted vegetables & dried meat related products
The high sodium content in this category of festive food can easy surpass one’s daily recommended sodium intake. Marinated food products are often packed with nitrite, aflatoxin and benzopyrene, that are the main cancer causing culprits.
Nuts & Seeds
Many parents might assume that as long as children have a mouthful of teeth, they should be able to safely consume nuts and seeds. In fact, children below 3 years old have yet to fully developed their chewing and swallowing skills, therefore they might not be able to productively chew the nuts and seeds into a digestible form. In rare cases, children suffer from choking hazard especially when they are eating while playing.
Honey is not suitable for toddler below 1 years old due to the risk of Botulism. Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal illness caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The disease begins with weakness, blurred vision, feeling tired, and trouble speaking.
The colourful and tasteful jelly is another artificial food that you should not be giving to your children. Not only that it contains little or none nutritional values, it is also one of the common choking hazard.
It’s absolutely not all right to have a two-year-old sipping wine and beer, it provides absolutely no benefit to the child and it can be quite harmful.
Alcohol has very specific effects on the body that can be particularly harmful to a child. It causes the blood sugar to fall to levels that can cause irritability, confusion, and even seizures. It lowers the body temperature, and since children’s bodies have such a large surface area relative to their weight, they lose heat rapidly and can become hypothermic very easily. Additionally, alcohol has very direct effects on the brain. Since most of a person’s brain growth occurs during the first few years of life, repeated exposure to alcohol could interfere with brain growth and cause delayed development and lowered intelligence.
Ginkgo is known for containing a small amount of toxin, more if consumed uncooked. However if a child consumes uncooked ginkgo, the risk of food poisoning and fatality is much higher than adults.
Caffeine in coffee may hinder children’s brain and bone development. Who needs an even more hyper child when your child is already active without caffeine?
Glutinous Rice Balls, Rice Cakes
The main ingredient for this festive snack is glutinous rice. Although it is a relatively healthy option, but children’s delicate digestive system may not be able to handle them well yet. Overeating this category of snacks will cause bloated stomach, nausea and poor digestion. Definitely not recommended for toddler below 3 years old.
Sashimi, medium rare beef, alcohol-cooked seafood etc
Most of the sashimi slices on top of the Yee Sang are not hygienically prepared, so you can imagine the risk level of food poisoning, especially for those with poor digestive system and children.
Children do not have a mature digestive system to protect them against food-borne disease.
What should you be doing?
Keep an eye on them
Better be safe than sorry. Remind your children if they have any food allergies, give gentle reminders to your friends and family on your take of giving food to children.
Seek immediate medical assistance if needed. Better be safe than sorry!
Know your limits
It is impossible to ban your children to snack on every single type of less healthy snacks. Set your limit and educate your children to consume these snacks responsibly and sensibly. After all, the big part of CNY is food sharing, right?