“I can do it!” What parent hasn’t heard that cry from their child? Children just naturally want to do everything on their own and, as parents, it is our job to nurture and encourage that sense of impendence. According to the Italian educator and founder of the Montessori Method of education, Maria Montessori, “The child’s first instinct is to carry out his actions by himself, without anyone helping him and his first conscious bid for independence is made when he defends himself against those who try to do the action for him.” And when a task is completed, independently for the first time, what a sense of accomplishment your child will feel!
A sense of independence and accomplishment are strongly encouraged in Montessori Schools. For example, at the TMS School, the Children’s House cloakrooms are reserved for children only. Parents and guardians are discouraged from entering this area while the children are changing into and out of their outdoor clothing. By providing the children the space and freedom to learn this life skill, they build their independence and their confidence.
As a parent, you probably look at helping your child do small tasks that you know they can do as part of caring for your child. However, to the child, you may be sending the message that you don’t believe they are capable of accomplishing the task on their own. In the long run, this could result in a lack of confidence and an unwillingness to try new tasks for fear of failure.
How can you help?
Often it’s just easier and faster to “do it yourself”. Sometimes that will have to happen but you can watch for opportunities in your everyday life when you can afford your child the chance to accomplish a task on their own. This can be as simple as setting the table, getting dressed or putting away their clothes on laundry day. It’s the little, ongoing accomplishments along with encouragement from you, that will build the confidence to try new things.
Is a Montessori education right for your child? You can find out more by visiting www.tmsschool.ca.