A Warm Spring Greeting to each of you,
I hope this finds you well. It is hard to believe that it is April already! The children have been busy welcoming Charlotte Storrs (Rye’s younger sister), Louie Boxer (brother of Owen from the Sage room) and Alex Johnston. The youngest children have realized that they have knowledge and skills to share and more and more of the 2nd year children have joined the seasoned 3rd year children in confidently lending a hand whenever they notice a need. More children have blossomed into readers and writers and more have discovered their love of math! All have taken ownership of their classroom environment and are becoming more and more independent each day.
Let’s take a brief glance at your child’s growing ability to be a functionally independent person. To be able to do something, by and for one’s self, without being a burden to others, is the definition of independence. Being functionally independent, means being able to take care of your own basic needs: dressing yourself, eating without assistance, drinking when you are thirsty, washing your own face, getting a tissue when it is needed, using the bathroom as needed, being able to communicate when you need help or sharing your likes and dislikes, etc. Many of you were able to watch Edison’s Day, via the video link that Andrea sent out. I have heard positive comments from many people who were inspired to new heights after watching this. Some people have found that a few simple changes in the home environment have produced dramatic effects. The kind of harmonious relationship with a child presented in Edison’s Day is possible. As adults, we can either support the development of independ-ence–removing obstacles, or we can become an obstacle in the way of this natural path.
In the classroom, I have been observing that there are some recurring situations involving clothing and independence. I would like to share a few thoughts on the matter:
Clothing and Functional Independence at School
1. Please encourage your child to dress him or herself in the morning. If there have been any challenges around this at home, you can assist the process by laying out 2 acceptable choices for each item of clothing (taking into account weather and whatnot). This is a great start to the day and helps the child transition into the classroom, where s/he can do many things for his/herself.
2. Please avoid clothing items that have cartoon characters or are costume-like. After great consideration and much observation, it has become clear that these types of clothing are very distracting to the child who wears them and to others in the classroom. Assist your child in choosing simple patterns/solid color and comfortable items for school.
3. Please encourage your child to “dress to his/her ability level”. If your child cannot snap his own jeans, please redirect him to different pants. If your child cannot tie her own shoes, please redirect her to different shoes. This assists your child’s development of confidence and frees him up from de-pending on someone else (and spending what-can-be-a-lot of time waiting) for help.
4. If your child is still working on developing an awareness of when to go to the bathroom, please make sure s/he has plenty of clean easy-to-get-on-and-off clothing stocked in his/her cubby each day.
I look forward to meeting with you in our conferences this week. For those of you who are able to attend Steven Hughes’ presentation on “Modern Par-enting: Tips ,Tricks and Traps” tomorrow night (7-8:30, tickets available on-line at www.oregonmontessori.org), I look forward to seeing you there. Also, we have our last parent night of the year scheduled for Monday, April 20th. We will look at the materials of the classroom and the ways children learn through their senses, its direct relationship to the brain and how the materials of our classrooms support your children in this process. Please continue to share ways that you have been successful in assisting your child’s independ-ence in the home with me and with each other. They make delightful stories.
Emily Westberg, Lavender Guide
A Warm Spring Greeting to each of you,