Nothing captures the essence of Montessori like seeing a child hard at work, doing something they love. That was a brief glimpse at some of the incredible things that have happened in only our first two weeks of school. If you're interested, you might want to take a stroll through our Instagram and Flickr photo feeds. We're just getting started.
We're very pleased to introduce you to Kaylee Jones, who is our new after care teacher. Ms. Jones grew up in a small farming town in Nebraska. She graduated from the University of Nebraska, with a degree in Elementary Education. We're very excited to have her join our team. Starting today, you'll be seeing Ms. Jones around!
As we head back to school, we thought we would put together a short post with a few recommendations on packing a lunch. For many families, this will be the very first time…how exciting! We would love to share with you some of the things that we have learned over the years. Of course, if you have helpful tips, we would love to hear them too. Please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Let's get started:
We recommend that you have your child help with the process. Not only will this foster responsibility, children also love to make their own choices - especially when it comes to food. Perhaps it would be helpful to develop a routine. For instance, maybe every night after dinner you work together to prepare a healthy meal. This could involve selecting what should be included, apples, oranges, pears, but also, food preparation, i.e.: spreading the peanut butter on the bread.
Having the right lunchbox and containers can be a huge advantage. What should you look for? We recommend that you find a lunchbox that is easy enough for your child to open. If you're not sure what would work best, perhaps you would like to take your child to the store and try a few out? Of course, the same thing can be said for containers. This would also apply to juice boxes too. The easier they are to open, the more independence and confidence your child will have with themselves and their meal.
With the above in mind, we also recommend that you consider using re-usable containers for lunch. Certainly this is great for recycling purposes, but it's also an excellent way to see exactly how much food your child ate for the day.
Lastly, we recommend that you not worry about providing a new and special food every single day. For children, each day is new and special, and they don't necessarily require the food to match. Don't worry! They'll soon develop another appreciation for food. We would also suggest that there is no order to the food, i.e.: there's something that must be eaten at the end. Sometimes the temptation to eat dessert first can be too overwhelming.
Of course, we're always here to help with lunch, but we thought these tips might be useful, at least to get started.
Drop-off and pick-up are two of the most important times of the entire day. Here are a few insights that we've gathered over the years. We hope you find them useful. These are many of the same recommendations that you'll find in Montessori parent handbooks throughout the world. Of course, we've made a few modifications, and put our own Baan Dek spin on things.
*Drop-Off: * When entering the school, we recommend that you walk in with your child, instead of carrying them. This will help give them a sense of independence and confidence. You can further empower your child by having them carry their own lunch or backpack, which will help foster that sense of ownership and responsibility that children so cherish.
While it can be difficult, we strongly recommend a quick drop-off. We know it can be the hardest thing in the world, but the longer a parent stays, the harder the separation becomes. Lingering can create anxiety for both children and adults alike, and this is never a good start to a day. Instead, children need the reassurance that you have confidence in them and their day.
With that in mind, it's important to note that children live by consistency and routine. We recommend that you try to ensure that your child has a good night sleep the night before school. If there's going to be a change in the day, we recommend that you inform your child, or send us a note so we can do the same. Children thrive on being made of aware of what's happening, so the more we can do to help quench that sense of wonder, the better.
Additionally, it's extremely important to be on time, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, perhaps, is that we don't want your child to feel left out, as they enter the classroom while everyone is already eagerly engaged in their daily activities. One of the best examples that we as adults can relate to, is the feeling of walking into a meeting late. You feel disheveled and overwhelmed. You're not sure what's already transpired. No matter how hard you try to catch up, you just don't feel that you're going to manage it.
*Pick-up: * Picking up your child after school is just as important as dropping your child off for school. Here are a few tips:
First, we recommend that you ensure a prompt, timely and cheerful pick up. Lengthy pick-ups can cause confusion, unease, restlessness and disrupt the other students in the classroom.
Second, we recommend that you greet your child respectfully. They're, of course, excited to see you, but meet their enthusiasm with calm and passion. Speak softly and encourage normal behavior. We know, it can be very exciting!
Third, while you are with your child, provide them with your full and undivided attention. We recommend that you are not on the phone during this time, as it can be very disruptive for your child.
Fourth, please ensure that you arrive to pick up your child in a timely fashion. Tardiness can cause anxiety for children. If you're running late, be sure to notify us, so we can inform your child. Children love to know what's going on, so they can prepare themselves. Additionally, if you need to pick your child up early for something, please let us know in advance, as this can be very disruptive for their day.
Fifth, ensure that you keep your child apace of any changes in their routine. If there is a change, let them know, explain the situation and offer reassurance. Sometimes they just need to hear it from you.
Sixth, it's always nice to hear about your child's day. Try asking them some open ended questions. "Would you like to tell me how your day was?" Try to avoid judgements, praise and rewards.
Lastly, if you have comments, questions, or concerns about your child, please schedule an appointment to discuss rather than speaking in front of them. They're highly aware of the conversation.
As we head into a new school year, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to what we affectionally refer to as, "The League of Extraordinary Montessorians". Without a doubt, this is the most experienced, cohesive and high-caliber group that we've ever fielded. We're enthusiastic, invigorated and share the exact same philosophy. We think we can go anywhere! Together, we're really looking forward to sharing in the joys, adventures and challenges of the new year. Of course, we're always around to answer any questions that you might have, and help in any way that we can. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch. It's going to be a great year!