Sarah Shares - What We Learn First: How to Care for Ourselves
Last weekend my family and I set in for a deep clean of our house. We did more than the minimum, clearing and cleaning counters and dusting all our sentimental treasures.
As I was dusting the wood curved frame of my parents’ settee, now in my home, I was taken instantly in my mind to dusting this very couch as part of my weekly chores as a child.
This time, my teenage children each chose which public room they would clean and set off to get to work—the bathrooms. I reminded them that soaking and cleaning the soap dish is part of cleaning the bathroom each time (because I noticed they hadn’t done it last time). Where had I learned that? I can clearly remember my mom showing me how she let the soap dish soak, while she wiped down the bathroom sink and mirror.
Among a million other things, my mom and dad taught me and my siblings how to clean. And how to cook, and how to fold laundry. My three brothers, my sister, and I had a weekly chore wheel that we spun to see which room we would care for that week. Each room had a checklist of tasks that needed to be complete to be “done.”
Now, all of this reminds me of the sense of order and process that is the bedrock of the Montessori approach. There is a satisfaction that comes from taking good care of your environment, and learning each step to be able to do it well. These basic ways that we care for ourselves are the start of any sort of sense of self and self awareness. Each of these skills and the people who taught them to us becomes a part of who we are, and prepares us for how we operate in the world, even decades later. There can be no more important core in our learning, than that of the early childhood years. Children’s minds are so rapidly forming and connecting, that everything they experience actually becomes a part of who they are and how they see the world. Talk about a big responsibility.
I invite you to join me in reflecting on the people who helped you to shape your perspective on the world and your abilities to be capable and positive contributors to it. Who were the notable teachers in your life, whether formal or not? Who are the people who are joining with you in the special role of preparing your children to be satisfied and independent in the world? All of us at Greene Towne are proud to be an important part of this team with your family. Each day, and even each moment, is an important part of a child’s development. And to think, this came to me while dusting.
Now, off to mop the kitchen!