Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Reason I Find Toddlers Most Surprising: Care of Environment for the Win

I have noticed a lot of people putting unnecessary limitations on my toddler and how capable he is of contributing.

Taking glass items away from him.
Not allowing him to carry a cup of water.
Not allowing him the responsibility of cleaning up said water if he happens to spill it.
Saying no when he asks to cut something for himself. (Within reason, of course.)

Toddlers are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.

They are so willing to help, to be contributors in the home. To do real and meaningful work.

For example: this morning the chairs were moved away from the table from washing the floor the night before. As I prepared the boy's breakfast, in bowls Jerome had retrieved, I asked Jerome to return the chairs to the table, and my two-year-old joyfully went about completing this chore. 

Standing back, watching him troubleshoot the transition strip (without jumping in to help) and push the chairs into the correct positions, I was reminded of capable he is. 

Raising Children Who Find Joy In Helpfulness

In Montessori, even toddlers are included in care of the environment. It is as easy as:
  • providing them with healthy expectations for how they are to treat their spaces and materials.
  • which results in many opportunities for them to develop a sense of responsibility for their environment.  
  • providing the proper tools and prepared spaces, as well as the opportunities and trust necessary for success.

It is up to them to meet, and often exceed, our expectations.

And to see a toddler joyfully washing dishes, using a small broom, wiping a spill, is to see a person who finds joy in helpfulness and purposefulness.

I cannot foresee what Jerome will be like as an older child, but upon observing him as he interacts with our environment, helping to maintain our spaces, contributing to the life of our home, I know this is the kind of foundation for a child who will continue to be helpful and peaceful in the home.

He is still very little, and he spends most of his day playing with cars, reading books, eating snacks, and playing outside. I, by no means, keep him on a strict chore routine, and I try to be very considerate not to interrupt him when he is immersed in play.

However, these moments where there are natural opportunities for him to assist me have shown him to be more than capable, and I am so proud of the little person he is.

Taking Time To Observe

With the Montessori focus on observation in mind today, I took a bit more time to really observe Jerome in his work today.

Some of my favourite moments observed today were: 

  • Peeling an orange for himself and Benedict, placing the peelings in his empty bowl and dividing the orange in half.
  • Preparing an art tray for himself with the stamp markers, and then cleaning up afterward.
  • Getting a drink for himself and Benedict at supper. He gathered glasses, filled his little pitcher, poured water into each cup, and carefully carried one to the baby. 
  • Cleaning up after supper, I had filled a bowl with compost, and asked Jerome to carry it to the trees. He walked carefully, two hands on the bowl, with a huge smile on his face and did as I had asked.

Thank you for reading!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I would also love to hear any suggestions for posts you would like me to write about. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagramwhere I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

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