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Montessori School – Helping Kids Help Themselves

If you’re a parent or caretaker, you’ve probably asked yourself, when should my child be able to do this for himself? One of the core concepts and benefits of Montessori education is learning greater independence, which sets a foundation for success throughout life. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method of education states:

 

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
 

When do children become independent?

You might be surprised to know that learning independence starts very early in life, even during infancy. A Montessori educator watches for subtle cues that a child (or a baby) is trying to do something for themselves, and encourages while offering help only when absolutely necessary. When a child tries to do something herself, it’s easy to fall into the habit of taking over and doing the task for them – it’s faster and often less stressful for parent and child. The downside is when too many things are done for the child, they lose confidence and are slower to develop independence and necessary skills.

How do children learn independence?

The Montessori learning environment is created to promote self-discipline and independence. This is achieved by offering tools that will help the child do for themselves, such as child-centered tables, chairs, eating utensils, and more. Children are also allowed to do little things for throughout the day, like prepare snacks, put on jackets, and clean up messes. Education is done in the same way. When children are given the freedom to act and learn within a structured environment, especially one geared towards the way children learn naturally, independence is nurtured. Adult intervention is needed at times, but will gradually decrease as the child develops new skills.

Why is learning independence so important?

Growing independent children is an important part of development for many reasons. Learning that “I can do this” builds confidence and encourages the child to try and learn new things – even when faced with challenges. Learning how to overcome obstacles through persistence and problem solving are important skills throughout life. Montessori education sets habits for positive attitude, work habits, and sense of personal responsibility that will help children discover, learn, and succeed.

September 30th, 2016

Posted In: About MKU