Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Summer "School"

Chi-Chi’s Montessori preschool will soon be winding down for the summer. As much as I do enjoy the little break it provides me each week, I am really looking forward to the summer days ahead with my two sweet boys. We’ve got lots of fun stuff on the agenda the next couple of months including a vacation at the family cottage and the arrival of half a dozen Black Australorp chicks. I’m excited about the simple pleasures that go hand-in-hand with the summer season. Camp fires, garden veggies, tents, sleeping bags, strawberry shortcake, beach days ….these are a few of my favorite things!

Some of my fondest childhood memories center around the summer days spent crafting with my mom and sister. My mom always seemed to have something new and interesting in the craft supply box and we were never without a project to work on. I’ve been dreaming up a stack of fun summer crafts and activities to work on with the boys and have started stockpiling a few supplies. I’ve stashed them away to pull out on both rainy and sunny days. The outdoor picnic table will most definitely be the venue for some of the messier activities!

I’ve also done a little revamping of the family’s Montessori cupboard. A few trips to the thrift store and I was able to pick up some new fun supplies for the wee ones to work with. The collection of activities in our cupboard is not necessarily used every day. It is, however, ready and waiting when they choose to make a selection to work with. There are days when all Chi-Chi wants to do is pretend to be a dinosaur. Other times, he finds enjoyment in practicing his counting skills. Muffy is only starting preschool in the fall, but he too finds the work interesting. I leave it to the children. I do insist they respect the materials and return then where they belong when finished. Today I found dear Muffy trying out the new pouring pitcher in the bathroom - dumping dirty toilet water on the floor!

Although I believe the break from preschool is a much-needed chance to exhale and relax for a couple of months, I’m a big proponent of carrying through with the Montessori approach at home. Consistency is so very important and I do admit, it can be challenging at times. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make our home as child-friendly and accessible as possible. Despite this fact, it seems I come up with new ideas every day, often inspired by the children themselves. As I watched Chi-Chi dump his art smock on the floor this morning, I realized it is normally stored in a spot he cannot reach. Once we all agreed on a convenient location for the smocks, both little ones eagerly put them away this afternoon.

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed” – wise words by Maria Montessori. It’s something I strive for as the little ones and I work our way through the activities and tasks of the day. I do admit, all of this takes a lot of energy (nagging!!) on my part. The broken record, “Please clear your plate” is played far too often around here. Sometimes it seems so much easier and faster to just do it myself, pick it up myself, clean it myself, cook it myself…etc. Although “everything has a place”, far too often Mommy is the one putting it in it’s place! It takes a lot of self-discipline and patience on my part. Some days I do well, others I don’t! It’s definitely a work-in-progress.

With all this talk about Montessori, I suddenly came up with an even more brilliant plan – The Montessori Husband. Never do for your husband what he can do for himself….now that’s got some potential!!!

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