There's a lot happening in our bodies and brains between the ages of 2-6. Our muscles are growing and becoming more coordinated. Our brain is making new connections every day. We learn how to make friends and be part of a group. We begin to understand abstract ideas, and test our power, influence, and control.
These years lay the foundation for how we see the world throughout the rest of our lives. Maria Montessori described children of this age as having an “absorbent mind”, acting like a sponge to take in everything around them. In a Montessori school, we purposefully design the primary classroom to take full advantage of this learning state. This includes three optimal classroom environments: the physical, the cultural, and the daily habits or routines. You can take this same idea and apply it to your home!
It's the tiny little things we do every day that ultimately make a big impact on our children and ourselves. Are you being purposeful with how your day goes, or do feel dragged along for the ride? Changing even one thing can make a difference! I suggest starting with your morning or evening routines this school year. What do you need to have ready to get to school on time? Prepacked lunches? Each child's school things ready by the door?
Pick one thing to focus on this week and make it happen.
The Cultural Environment
All the words you say and the tone of your home is directly influencing your child's emotional, social, and behavioral development. (Remember those words that come flying out of your mouth and make you sound exactly like your mother? Those little seeds were planted and watered every time you heard them as a child.) We as adults also have the power to influence how our children will feel about their ability to solve problems, make good choices, and take care of themselves. We do this through the subtle messages we send in our words and actions.
(Great job, You make me happy! vs. Wow, look you figured it out! How do you feel now?)
Changing what you say and do with your children can be a long process. Start by downloading a copy of our 35 catchphrases and using 1-2 this week.
Designing your home to support both your children and the adults who live there will help everyone to feel at home. Here's three basics to start and check out our home design projects for more support.
- Keep your children's things within their reach, and make a place for them to go back to. That way, your children can put away their shoes, coat, lunchbox, and backpack after school.
- Put anything that is off-limits out of sight or remove it from shared spaces.
- Glance through your children's toys and remove any that are broken, ugly, awful, or too old/young for them now.
Lastly, take advantage of the awesome resource that is your child's Montessori guide.
Ask questions, go to parent nights, and get involved at school!
And make sure you get a copy of our Back To Montessori Booklet and learn everything your 3-6 child needs at home to thrive at school this year.
Leanne Gray, M.Ed is the owner of The Prepared Environment, which supports families in creating an ideal environment for their children at home. She has over fifteen years experience working with children in both public, private, and Montessori schools, and is AMI primary trained. She particularly loves to hear from you! You can always contact her for personalized support and answers to your questions here.