GTMS Life > Blog February 1, 2022

Ms. Michelle: January 2022

Happy 2022! Children As Leaders A mixed-aged classroom is fundamental to the Montessori Pedagogy. It allows for children to learn from one another and provides opportunities for children to act as mentors. When children watch other children complete a task, it gives them the growth mindset that one day they will be able to do […]

Happy 2022!

Children As Leaders

A mixed-aged classroom is fundamental to the Montessori Pedagogy. It allows for children to learn from one another and provides opportunities for children to act as mentors. When children watch other children complete a task, it gives them the growth mindset that one day they will be able to do that too, whether it is putting on their shoes without help, pouring water without spilling, zippering a jacket, wearing underwear, etc. They are motivated and determined. The children who act as mentors gain a sense of responsibility while building leadership skills; and since it is a mixed-age environment, children at any given age may be a mentor due to varying degrees of skill sets. Some of the leadership skills are:

  • Caring for the environment
    • Outside of the work on the shelves, the children assist in maintaining the environment. Whether this includes pushing in chairs, washing dishes, sweeping up dirt, and scrubbing the furniture, the children are happy to help keep the classroom safe, clean, and beautiful. This type of environmental care requires a lot of energy and movement, and is a great way for children to release energy in a positive and productive way! They take pride in their work and their environment.
  • Reinforcing routines and rules
    • Children assist with Grace & Courtesy lessons at Circle, by modeling appropriate behaviors and communication skills like walking around a work rug or tapping a teacher for help. Oftentimes we will role play situations during Circle, and it is evident by their smiles and stature that the children helping feel a sense of pride and significance. The reinforcement of environmental routines and rules are also observed by the children, and of the children, organically throughout their day. Toddlers are absorbing the world around them, and by watching their peers they are seeing our Grace & Courtesy lessons in action.
  • Assisting another child with tasks
    • Children will naturally ask an adult for help when they need or want it. During the school year, adults will encourage children who need help to ask a friend first. We are a community and we support each other. Not only does this build relationships and trust, but it also reinforces the skills the mentor child has developed.
      • Communication skills are strengthened, as the mentor listens and responds to the child’s needs.
      • Patience and self-regulation skills are strengthened, as the mentor guides the child rather than does for them (this is not always easy for adults).
  • Mediating conflict
    • Around the age of 3 years old, justice and rules become a focal point alongside growth in socialization and engagement. The children will begin to use words to resolve conflict and problem-solve a solution. Sometimes it is a brief dialogue between two children, “This is my work, you can use it when I’m done.” Other times it can be stepping in to help others who may be experiencing conflict: “Friends! Take a breath.”

The Importance of Letting Your Child Struggle

Oftentimes when an adult sees a child struggling they want to step in to help them, but this is where the learning occurs. They are problem-solving how to best reach the result they wish to see. If they are struggling to put on their shoes, perhaps they are figuring out how to position their foot, where to place their hands, how to bend their fingers, how much force is necessary to get their foot into the shoe, etc. For most adults, this action is ingrained and no thought is necessary. The child, however, is actively thinking about each motion.

Letting the child struggle also teaches them resilience, growth mindset, patience, confidence, and independence. When adults step in too soon and too often, the child is not able to develop the tools needed for success and will then rely on others to complete a task. They may even question if they can do the task at all. Take a breath, sit on your hands, and observe.

Disclaimer: If your child is visibly upset or becoming frustrated, ask them if they would like help.

After Rest Activity: Making Playdoh

One afternoon, after rest time, Teacher Emily gathered the children together to make playdoh since our current supply was low and starting to dry out. She created the mixture and when it was cool enough for the children to touch, she invited them to push, pull, and knead the dough. The children chose to color the playdoh golden yellow in celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year. Thanks to our friends, we now have yellow playdoh!

Dance Party Circle

We have recently started having a small dance party during our Circles before lunch. We will typically play songs from Belle & Sebastian and the children love it. They will dance alone or ask a friend to dance with them.

Valentine’s Day Book List

For Valentine’s Day we ask that children donate a book for the classroom, only if the family wishes to donate (please do not feel like you have to). Inside of the cover you can write a little note from your child along with the date. When we read books, we read the note and who it was from. It can be any book your child or your family wishes to donate. If you are looking for suggestions, I have made a list on Amazon: Valentine’s Day Book List 2022.

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Upcoming Events

  • Parent Observation Sign up: Stay tuned for dates and time.
  • February 16th: Parent Education via zoom at 6:30 pm
    • Managing Difficult Behaviors: A Day In The Life Of Toddlers
    • Hosted by the Toddler Lead Teachers

Thank you for a wonderful January!!

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