Thursday, April 9, 2009

Toddler Montessori

So, my daughter Janie is 19 months now, and has been "doing school" with us for the last 4 months. She has never fit in extremely well to the classroom, but we've made do. I put some learning materials/toys out on the floor against one wall, and she can take them to a table or work with them on the floor. She sometimes gets out a floor mat (she loves those!) and will work there.

It has been hard to be consistent with her, because she is so much younger and doesn't respond as the older kids do. She wants to use a material at a table, so she goes over and sits down...for about 30 seconds. Then she leaves the material there, and goes to see what is going on across the room. Then she'll get a floor mat and try to scoot as close as she can to someone else's floor mat...this occupies most of her time, and the work she was thinking of doing on the floor mat is forgotten. She also likes to roll up other people's mats, whether or not they are done working with them. Oh, and she is a chronic chair-stealer...sitting down on someone's chair while they are on it (or slightly off it...) In short, she has contributed to a lack of concentration on the part of all the kids (though they don't really get upset with her...they tolerate her and generally enjoy having her around...they just don't get as much work done). She is really a good lesson in practical life for the big kids (how to get along with a toddler), and a lesson in patience and perseverance for me.

Well, all that perseverance is going to pay off soon. After some deliberation, I decided to give Janie some shelf space (two small shelves in our classroom are now for her materials). That way she can get them when she wants them, and not just during school time (usually I put her materials away after school, as I wanted them to be fresh and keep her interested as long as possible). They were a "diversion" before, but now she's old enough to somewhat join our school. I also made a temporary table for her to work on, so she won't steal the other kids seats.

Two stools from Ikea and a board work wonders! She's sitting on the bathroom stool...

Anyway, I realized that now she has taken on (with the acquisition of shelves) a degree of responsibility she's never had before. She must now put things away before using other things. And she understands this! This doesn't mean she is eager to follow directions, but I know she'll get there. She wants to take her work all over the house, but understands now that it must stay in the schoolroom. She wants to leave work on the table and go play with something else, but if I bring her back and ask her if she's done or if she wants to keep working, I know she get's it. She's growing up!

Congratulations Janie!

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