I’m so delighted to join this online community and share some educational insight, or at the very least another voice and perspective! My name is Meagan Ledendecker and as the Director of Education at The Montessori School of the Berkshires, I’ve recently been working with some of our toddler and early childhood parents to help promote independence as children arrive at school.
As a parent of a nine-year-old, a four-year-old, and a four-and-a-half-month-old, I’m no stranger to the need for efficiency as we try to get out of the door and to our destination in the morning. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that young children have a strong desire for independence. They need to feel capable. As Maria Montessori determined 100 years ago, the young child’s motto could very well be, “Help me do it myself.”
So how do we lend just enough support and give just the right amount of space, when we really needed to be out the door five minutes ago?
In upcoming posts, I’ll share some tips for steps to take at home or school, but we’re going to first take a look at the endpoint: arriving at your intended destination. Whether walking into a store or through the entryway of your child’s school, it’s so important to let your child have the opportunity to walk in on his or her own.
Yes, the time it takes to traverse the distance from the car to the door may take five minutes rather than the less-than-one-minute long-legged clip you’d prefer. Sometimes it may feel easier to scoop up your child and just get there! But I challenge you to take a deep breath, gently offer your hand, and allow your child the opportunity to take those steps.
Our children have worked so hard to be able to walk on their own! Celebrate this skill and slow down to the child’s pace, even if only for a couple of minutes. Check out Aid to Life for some fabulous reminders and tips about young children’s need to master their movements.