The Tinkerous Toddler is two years old. She’s been at a Montessori nursery for just over a term. Given I made such a big song and dance about choosing a nursery, I thought it was about time for an update. Not least so I can reassure myself that the weeks of deliberating have begun to pay off.
In short, I’m already feeling paid in full. We have a daughter who has made some great new friends and she clearly loves the environment she’s in. You may well be thinking that great friends and a lovely environment are part and parcel of any good nursery’s offering. Me too. So, here’s the skinny on how the Montessori method is influencing the little Tinker.
The main focus for her group, which is made up of two to three year olds, is ‘Practical Life Skills.’ These help children master motor skills; develop cognitively; shape their personality and powers of concentration and grow in self-confidence and independence. Montessori Practical Life Skills include:
- Basic movements such as pouring, folding and carrying
- Care and maintenance for everyday life:
- Care of the person (e.g. washing of hands, cleaning teeth)
- Care of the environment (e.g. dusting, sweeping, tidying)
- Courtesy, focusing on person-to-person interaction
- Control of movement, including refining coordination through activities such as walking on the line
There’s a really good overview of Montessori Practical Life Skills on Info Montessori
Well, the Tinkerous Toddle’s Practical Life Skills have come on a treat. It is quite fascinating to me to see her choose a toy, sit and play with it and then neatly pack it up and return it from whence it came once she’s had enough.
She’s become incredibly organised with dressing and undressing herself – almost always at the right times too! She’ll often put her clothes away in the drawer. Not always in the right drawer, but the intention is there. I must admit we did have a blip last week, when I discovered she’d put away some leggings and pants that she’d had a pee accident on. Oops!
You may think this is all a bit dull for a toddler. But, the marvellous thing is she really enjoys the whole process. She seems empowered; she’s in charge of what she is doing from start to finish. That can only be a good thing when it comes to building a child’s self-esteem.
The Montessori theory is that children love order. It doesn’t take much of a leap of faith to believe this theory. I think most people love order. It’s fun to have an injection of chaos every now and then, but in general most of us thrive much better when our lives are in order. So, showing a child how to create order in their lives is a wonderful thing in my book.
Ooh and last week something really cool happened; I was doing the washing up after we’d had friends round for lunch, when I realised that the Tinkerous Toddler was carefully picking up all the food debris from the floor and putting it into the bin. Again, you might think it a bit sad for a toddler to be cleaning the house. But it was her choice to do it and she clearly felt good to be contributing towards tidying up.
There are oodles of other positive things that I’ve noticed too, but I don’t want to bang on ad infinitum. Though do look out for my next post on the Montessori attitude to saying sorry, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but am finding a little difficult to put into practice.
I’d love to hear from anyone else experiencing Montessori nursery with their children and am always happy to chat about how I made my decision with anyone toying with the idea of a Montessori education for their child / children.