The Montessori Approach to Discipline

This article was first published in Tomorrow’s Child magazine

Upon visiting a Montessori classroom for the first time, one might wonder what magic spell has been cast upon these young children making them so calm and self directed. Another person might look at that same class and be confused by the children’s independence, wondering where’s the discipline, these children just do as they please. Visitors commonly issue such comments as, “I’ve heard Montessori is too free and chaotic” or “I’ve heard Montessori is too structured.” It does not seem possible that these two extreme opposites can both be true. Montessori is, however, all in the eyes of the beholder. This method or philosophy of education varies in interpretation from school to school, teacher to teacher, and parent to parent. There are certainly some Montessori classrooms that are very rigid and adult controlled, and there are also classroom that are disorderly and anything goes. Montessori when done well, however, is a beautiful blend and perfect balance of freedom and structure. The best Montessori teachers or facilitators understand that maintaining the delicate balance is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of their job. It is on that foundation of freedom and structure that the child builds discipline.

Freedom is not a word that is traditionally associated with discipline. Parents are often concerned that the Montessori child’s freedom to choose activities presupposes that discipline is something alien to our classrooms. Does freedom mean license to act as he or she chooses or does freedom of choice carry with it certain responsibilities in the classroom community? Are we, as some would claim, a place where children can do what they like or, as a young Montessori student once told a visitor, a place where children like what the do?

To have any meaningful discussion of these questions, it would seem that our first priority should be to define this thing called discipline. Montessori herself held that discipline is “not …a fact but a way.” True discipline comes more from within than without and is the result of steadily developing inner growth. Just as the very young child must first learn to stand before she can walk, she must develop an inward order through work before she is able to choose and carry out her own acts. Surprisingly enough, Montessori found that it was through the very liberty inherent in her classrooms that the children were given the means to reveal their inner or self-discipline. Independence did not diminish respect for authority but rather deepened it. One of the things that aroused her greatest interest was that order and discipline seemed to be so closely united that they resulted in freedom.

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But, many people assume that discipline is something that is imposed from without by an authority figure who should be obeyed without question. Discipline in the Montessori environment is not something that is done to the child; nor is it a technique for controlling behavior. Our concern is with the development of the internal locus of control, which enables an individual to choose the right behavior because it is right for him or herself and right for the community.

If discipline comes from within, then what is the job of the teacher? Inner discipline is something, which evolves. It is not something that is automatically present within the child and it can not be taught. The role of the teacher, then, is to be a model and a guide while supporting the child as he develops to the point where he is able to choose to accept and to follow the “rules” of the classroom community. This level of obedience is the point where true inner discipline has been reached. One knows this level of discipline has been reached when children are able to make appropriate behavioral choices even when we are not present.

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Discipline presupposes a certain degree of obedience. Before the age of three a child is truly unable to obey unless what is asked of her happens to correspond with one of her vital urges. At this stage, her personality hasn’t formed to the level where she is capable of making a choice to obey. It is this level which Montessori termed the first level of obedience. A toddler can obey, but not always. The second level of obedience is reached when the child is capable of understanding another person’s wishes and can express them in her own behavior. When this second level of obedience is reached, most parents and teachers would think they had reached their goal. Most adults ask only that children obey. The goals of Montessori reach beyond this, however, to the third level which Montessori called “joyful obedience”. At this stage the child has internalized obedience, or we might say, had developed self-discipline where he sees clearly the value of what is being offered to him by authority and rushes to obey. This is not blind obedience at all, but is a fully informed choice by a personality which has grown in freedom and developed to its fullest potential. This is what we want for our children. With this level of obedience or self-discipline comes a degree of self-respect in which a child cannot help but respect the rights and needs of others alongside her own. She is then able to learn and grow freely in the security of a community of respectful individuals.

This of course, is a wonderful philosophy, but can Montessori truly deliver these results? Montessori can only benefit children when it moves beyond philosophy and takes a practical application. This involves the careful preparation of the teacher and the classroom environment.

The teacher should be a specialist, trained in child development, as well as Montessori Philosophy and methodology for the age group with whom he or she will be working. Equally important, these adults will need to possess robust enthusiasm for learning, a deep respect for all life, kindness, and the patience of a saint.

The classroom should be beautiful, orderly, and so inviting that the child cannot resist exploring. It should be steeped with a sense of wonder. Within this environment the child will be free to explore, but with this freedom comes responsibility. One of the secrets to success in the Montessori classroom is freedom within the limits of very clear ground rules. Every school’s ground rules will vary but the essence is generally the same. 1) Take care of all people and living things in our environment, and 2) Take care of all of the material things in our environment. If you think about it, every “do” or “don’t” one could wish to implore fits in these two rules, or could be narrowed even further to this one simple rule, “be respectful of everyone and everything.”

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The rules are kept simple, yet they are explored in great detail. It should never be assumed that the child understands what it means to be kind or respectful. A great amount of time and energy must be focused on teaching lessons that demonstrate socially acceptable behavior. Children don’t just automatically know how to be a friend, express anger, or how to solve problems. As a matter of fact, many adults are still learning how to cope with these issues. Yet, we often forget to teach children the everyday skills necessary for getting along with others. These special skills are taught with the Grace and Courtesy lessons. These lessons are presented through demonstration and then practiced through role-playing, and modeled by teachers and older students. They are the foundation of the classroom, as they set a tone of respect and kindness. The child learns such important skills as, how to shake hands and greet a friend, how to properly interrupt someone who is busy, and how to tell someone to please move out of my way. The children love these lessons. They are always eager to take a turn playing the roles, and they are thrilled to know a better way to handle personal situations.

Another important consideration, is that children have the same range and depth of emotions as adults, but they don’t have the maturity or experience to put these feelings in perspective. The goal of Grace and Courtesy lessons and conflict resolution techniques is to validate these feelings and give children the tools to successfully tackle them. Children learn what to do when someone is unkind or unfair and how to discuss conflicts when they occur. Teachers and children act as mediators, coaching children in conflict through a process of expressing their feelings and finding a way to fix their mistakes. In one such incident, a five-year-old acted as the peacemaker for two children engaged in an escalating disagreement. She linked the hands of the angry children and rubbed their backs as she encouraged their negotiations. In time, with modeling and consistency, children become proficient at handling social difficulties. In fact, parents have reported incidents in which children have encouraged peaceful negotiations between mom and dad, as well as settling problems with siblings and neighborhood friends.

In addition to lessons, which teach social graces, there is a lot of emphasis placed on developing practical life skills. What we commonly refer to as misbehavior is often the side effect when children feel insecure, and disempowered. Children who are happily engaged in self-satisfying activities with a clear purpose experience a great sense of accomplishment and power. When the child can do things for herself, she will feel confident and in control. These everyday living skills such as pouring, scrubbing tables, dish washing, and polishing, also help the child learn to focus his attention and complete a task. These lessons require the child to follow an orderly step by step process, which will further develop both self discipline and logical thinking, thus laying a foundation for the more abstract academic activities offered within the other areas of the classroom.

The magical spell that enables the Montessori Child to become disciplined is his love for meaningful activity. When the environment provides consistency, nurturing adults and stimulating work, the child can go about his most important work, creating the adult he will become. Montessori offers him valuable tools for this great task: independence, order, coordination, cooperation and confidence.

Montessori, however, is only one component in the child’s life. A child’s home environment and parents’ love are the most critical factors in his development. Unfortunately, our children are not born with an owner’s manual. Parents generally rely on the wisdom of grandparents and doctors educators, as well as their own instincts to determine the right parenting style for their family. Parents should be able to find within their Montessori school, a family friendly environment that is ready to offer support. When schools and families develop a partnership there is greater opportunity for consistency and continuity.

How can parents bring this type of discipline home from the classroom? A democratic parenting style is recommended, rather than the authoritarian style with which most of us grew up. We learn to be obedient “or else.” Discipline was imposed from without rather than allowed to grow from within. Threats, bribes or withdrawal of privileges were expected to make us comply with our parents’ wishes. To be consistent with the “discipline” used in the classroom the parenting style at home should emphasize respect for the child’s feelings, choices within acceptable limits, encouragement, conflict resolution, and natural and logical consequences for behavior.

There are many parenting courses, which encourage this style of parenting. Such courses as Redirecting Children’s Behavior, Active Parenting, or STEP, dove tail the Montessori approach to discipline. These courses are based on theories of psychologists, Rudolf Dreikurs and Alfred Adler. Adler was a contemporary and a colleague of Dr. Montessori and they shared many ideas about children’s behavior. Parenting courses and parent support networks are a wonderful way to create bridges between the classroom and family environments.

Whether in the home or the classroom it is important to keep in mind the ultimate goal of discipline. Too often we discipline for the moment, hastily solving the present problem, but possibly creating future ones. Disciplining with the long-range goal means keeping in mind the independent adult you want your child to become.

The goal of the Montessori classroom whether it is a prepared environment for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, elementary, or secondary students, is first and foremost the development of skills necessary for a productive and fulfilling life. The best of the academic curriculum are useless if the child does not develop inner discipline, integrity, and respect for others and oneself. In today’s world of moral degeneracy, these goals may seem out of reach, but they are more important than ever before. The young person who faces the world of tomorrow armed with self-confidence and self – discipline is far more likely to achieve success and happiness. They will be prepared to meet any challenges that the “real world” may present, and will hopefully bring to that world a bit of the peace and joy they experienced in the Montessori environment.

What Are The Real Benefits of Sending a Child to Montessori?

Parents often ask: What are the real benefits of sending a child to a Montessori school? They seek assurance that it will prepare them to survive in the ‘real world,’ by which they really question: Will Montessori prepare their children to succeed in a conventional school?

My favorite answer to this question is a simple No!

No, Montessori is not designed to prepare children to think, act, and learn the way most children do in most traditional classrooms!

Will Montessori children succeed in a traditional classroom? The odds are that they will do just fine.

But, is Montessori designed to prepare children for the sort of classroom experience that they are likely to find if they transfer from Montessori to a traditional school program before they go off the college? The answer is, of course, no. If Montessori were designed to prepare children for the next rung on the conventional schooling ladder, then Montessori would be like other traditional schools, and that is precisely what Montessori schools were designed to challenge and replace!

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Now, is Montessori designed to prepare children for the ‘real world’?

First we have to ask ourselves what do we mean when we think about the real world? What most people mean by this phrase is a world of people who are driven high achievers. In the real world, many so-called successful people live lives that are centered around competition instead of partnership, where relationships are structured around hierarchies of power and influence, and where people are thought of as being part of a group or outsiders. In the real world that we live in, many people, who we think of as ‘successful,’ tend to be self-centered, materialistic, and not terribly happy and balanced. Many conventional schools teach children, perhaps nonverbally, perhaps overtly, that the world is made up of ‘somebodies’ and ‘nobodies’. Sadly, these ideas tend to be woven into what many people think of as success in the ‘real world.’

Montessori schools are generally focused on a more balanced and more spiritual approach to life. Montessori is not anti-materialistic. It does not teach children that they should not aspire to have a beautiful home or a successful career. What we do say is that there are other things that have a deeper value. If we own a home and somehow it is lost, our lives have meaning that is much greater than the things we own.

So, to return to the original question: “Are we oriented, as is a typical prep school, to prepare children for university and for a career?” My response would be that we prepare children to think, create, imagine, design, collaborate well with others, and to live a balanced life.

So then, what do children tend to get out of Montessori?

Firstly, what children get out of their years in Montessori is an incredible sense of self-worth. They become fiercely independent. They get a sense of their own ability to learn new things, master new skills, solve problems, and to do things well.

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Secondly, children in Montessori schools learn non-violence and conflict resolution. They become spiritually alive—in the highest sense of what that means. This is not simply a fear-based approach to religion but, rather, an approach to living based on love and faith.

Montessori was always intended to create conditions in which children, even children whose lives had been impoverished, can develop their full, unique potentials. The original group of children with whom Dr. Montessori worked were fifty street urchins, whose families lived in conditions of extreme poverty, with all the negative factors that go along with it: crime, drugs and violence. As we know, those children blossomed.

In Montessori education, no matter what the home conditions might be, we try to create conditions at school that give children a sense of joy, a sense of celebration, and a sense that they are part of something bigger than themselves, without taking away their sense of personal empowerment and personal responsibility. We aim to inspire in them a sense of awe and wonder. This is not done in a way that makes children feel small and powerless, but rather to say “you belong on this Earth!” Montessori creates an understanding that each life has value and each life has purpose. Our children learn that we need to honor ourselves, honor our parents, honor all life, and honor other human beings. Like all great spiritual traditions, Montessori helps children to discover their own dignity in the midst of our imperfections and personal limitations.

Montessori children learn that their ideas have merit and that their decisions are important. They learn that people make mistakes, but that we can learn from them. It teaches that we need to take responsibility for our actions and, where appropriate, to try to re-balance the scales.

What we focus on in Montessori schools around the world is helping children to grow to be more spiritual, more empowered, and more balanced in all aspects of their lives.

Montessori teaches children how to live in a community and how to re-solve conflicts peacefully. We teach them to support one another emotionally. Our children learn how to lead and also how to be part of a team.

These are very powerful lessons, which go far beyond the simple memorization of facts and formulas, and far beyond the mechanics of the basic curriculum. We are engaged in teaching children to think deeply, to figure things out for themselves, and to be their own best teacher. We teach them how to bring abstract ideas, along with things that they have never seen, to life. We help them to see the real connections between things.

These are just some of the things that children gain from Montessori.

All of this comes along with Montessori children’s famous sense of humor and a tendency to not be all that impressed with authority. They learn to question everything and everyone. They, sometimes, tend to ask embarrassing questions . There is an old saying among Montessori parents that “It takes brave parents to raise a Montessori child.” These children think and speak for themselves. They don’t really see themselves as children.

There are all kinds of Montessori schools: big and small, public and private. Some offer a more ‘adapted’ version of Montessori than others. But there is one thing that all true Montessori schools have in common: they tend to graduate children who are very much like the ones I’ve just described. Even though, in some schools, Montessori would work better if their programs more completely followed the full Montessori model, and even though Montessori schools would be more successful if they had more enthusiastic support from parents, most Montessori schools produce incredibly bright young people, who think for themselves. Our schools tend to turn out children who have terrific self-confidence and who can be trusted to ask all the right—and, sometimes, the most embarrassing questions.

And that’s why we are Montessori educators, regardless of where we trained.

Written by Tim Seldin, The Montessori Foundation

Children at Montessori Schools Are Better Educated

A controversial schooling method that focuses on personal development rather than exams produces more mature, creative and socially adept children, scientists have revealed.

Psychologists in the US found that across a range of abilities, children at Montessori schools out-performed those given a traditional education.

Five-year-old Montessori pupils were better prepared for reading and maths, and 12-year-olds wrote ‘significantly more creative’ essays using more sophisticated sentence structures.

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Some of the biggest differences were seen in social skills and behavior.

Montessori children displayed a greater sense of ‘justice and fairness’, interacted in an ’emotionally positive’ way, and were less likely to engage in ‘rough play’ during break times.

The schooling system was invented in the early 1900s by Dr. Maria Montessori to educate poor children in her native Italy.

Today, there are more than 5,000 Montessori schools in the US, and around 600 in the UK, where they are privately funded.

The method discourages traditional competitive measurements of achievement, such as grades and tests, and instead focuses on the individual progress and development of each child.

Children of different ages share the same classes, and are encouraged to collaborate and help each other. Special educational materials are used to keep children interested, and there is an emphasis on “practical life skills“.

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The researchers, who reported their findings in the journal Science, compared children aged three to 12 at a Montessori school in Milwaukee with those at other schools in the same area.

Parents won places for their children at the unnamed Montessori school by entering a ‘lottery’ run by the local education department.

Both winners and losers, who sent their children to the other schools studied, had similar incomes of between $16,000 and $41,000.

Children were tested for mental performance, academic abilities, and social and behavioral skills.

Dr. Angeline Lillard, from the University of Virginia, who co-led the study, said: “We found significant advantages for the Montessori students in these tests for both age groups.”

“Particularly remarkable are the positive social effects of Montessori education. Typically the home environment overwhelms all other influences in that area.”

Not only were five-year-old primary school children better prepared for the “three Rs” at elementary level, they also had higher scores in tests of ‘executive function’. This is the ability to adapt to changing and complex problems, and is seen as an indicator of future school and life success.

Although the Montessori children were not regularly tested or graded, they did just as well in spelling, punctuation and grammar exams as those given conventional lessons.

Older Montessori pupils were more likely to choose ‘positive assertive responses’ when dealing with unpleasant social situations, said the researchers.

They also displayed a “greater sense of community” at school.

The scientists concluded: “Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools.”

Dr. Lillard plans to continue the research by tracking students from both groups over a longer period of time. She also hopes to repeat the study at other Montessori and traditional schools, and assess specific Montessori techniques.

Article originally published on DailyMail.co.uk

Some Words of Advice to Teachers

This article has been adapted from the original, which was published in The Call of Education, Vol. 11, no. IV, December, 1925.

Anticipating some of the questions which will certainly be put to me, I shall give some recommendations regarding mistakes which I have observed during my visits to Montessori schools. These mistakes, apparently slight and of a psychological rather than a technical nature, are small matters; but they are those that impede the full and harmonious development that every teacher would like to achieve in her class and precisely because they appear to be insignificant, they are the most difficult to discover and eliminate.

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Environment

The teacher must not content herself with merely providing her school with an attractive environment; she must continuously think about this environment, because a large part of the result depends on it. The teacher, therefore, must:

a) keep the didactic developmental material in perfect order. If this is not the case, the children will not take an interest in it and if they do not, the material becomes useless, as the entire Montessori method is based on the spontaneous activity of the child which is aroused precisely by the interest the child takes in the material.

b) make sure that every object used by the children has a place of its own that is easily accessible to them. Thus, the black and colored pencils, the paper, the pen, the ink, etc., must be placed in such a way that the children can take them in an orderly fashion without the help of the teacher. The order in which the objects are kept teaches order to the children.

The teacher, therefore, should occupy herself with the environment rather than with the child and allow the former to teach the latter. For example, if for each broom there is a support preventing it from touching the floor and being damaged, the child will learn right away to put it like that; if there is a special hook for every used dishcloth, so that the wet ones are hung in the proper place, the child will become interested in this order and learn it.

Exercises of Practical Life

There should be exercises of practical life for all the children progressing according to age from simple to difficult to complex. Every teacher must study to decide which exercises of practical life are interesting and possible in her environment and make a list of them; because whereas the other material is already determined, the exercises of practical life are not. These vary according to the environment but always remain a very important part of the work for they substitute the formal gymnastics of the other educational methods. So they must be interesting and sufficiently challenging.

The exercises of practical life should be done when they are necessary, regardless of the time, and not according to a fixed schedule. For example, the children should wash their hands when they are dirty, sweep the floor when there is something to sweep, etc. Many will object that, if allowed, the children will do nothing but exercises of practical life and drawing. This is not true and if it does happen, it is only because the teacher has not been able to present her material in an interesting way or because the exercises she has given to the children are either too easy or too difficult. The teacher should not correct this by forbidding the exercises or by allowing them only during a certain time of the day, but she must allow the children to complete those tasks that they are attracted to also during the whole day, if they wish to do so; she must merely make the other work so interesting that the children do not want to dedicate themselves exclusively to one thing. Still, the teacher should not panic if the children throw themselves wholeheartedly into a certain task: that is what we call an explosion and this continuous dedication to a specific exercise, if concentrated and thus spontaneous, always leads to excellent results. The teacher should know very well how to present the exercise of practical life to the children: remembering that she must teach it with absolute clarity in every detail, but then leave the child free to master it; she should not correct the child even if he does it wrong. What is important is that he does it by himself, without a word, without the help, without a look from the teacher.

She must give her lesson, plant the seed and then disappear; observing and waiting, but not touching.

Intervention of the teacher

Many teachers interfere in order to restrain, advise or praise the children when they should not, and instead refrain from intervening when it is necessary. The teacher should never intervene in an action when the impulse prompting it is good, neither with her approval nor with her help nor with a lesson or correction. She can destroy the good impulse of the children by intervening; or at least her intervention will cause the real “ego” of the child to withdraw within himself as a snail into its shell. I shall give some examples to illustrate this fact:

a) A child runs to meet a person and embraces him affectionately but awkwardly. If the teacher chooses that instant to correct the child and teach him how to greet someone, he will feel hurt or at least embarrassed and, until he has forgotten this nasty experience, he will not want to greet someone anymore and may never be able to do so with ease. If the teacher realizes instead that she has not taught the child how to do it well, she will prepare an amusing and lively lesson on the various ways of greeting people and a few days later teach this lesson to the child. He will not feel offended, learning with pleasure how to greet a person politely without losing his affectionate enthusiasm.

b) A child tries to wash a small table: not knowing how to do it, he does it wrong. The teacher uses this opportunity to teach him how to do it right. The child loses interest; looking about, he scrubs the table top once or twice and then leaves it. If the teacher had waited, the child himself might have discovered how to scrub the table and he would have improved his action. In any case, the teacher should have chosen another moment to give him a lesson: waiting for an opportunity when she would not run the risk of destroying a good impulse.

c) A child has recently begun school: he is small and very shy. So far he has remained motionless, looking about, not interested in anything. Today, he gets up and very slowly, almost trying to hide himself, goes to fetch his first piece of material. The teacher sees it, full of joy she walks up to him and encourages him with a few words. The child feels caught, mortified and almost just as frightened of the approval as he would have felt of a reprimand. He blushes, returns fretfully to his table, puts the material down and stays there without using it. Perhaps the child will not do anything for a month and remain seated, looking about, even more unhappy and shy than before.

d) A violent and rude child behaves gently towards another child. If the teacher, having noticed this, shows him her approval and encourages him to continue in this way, the child will feel almost ashamed of his first sign of kindness (which to him may seem weakness) and will do anything to repress and hide it, becoming more rude than before. If the teacher instead pretends not to have noticed, the child will feel a real pleasure in performing these small unnoticed kindnesses and will develop this quality with the exercise.

The teacher must intervene and reprimand the children whenever they do something rude or careless that has no good impulse and does not lead to perfection; for instance, when they:

  • pass in front of a person without asking permission;
  • drag their chairs instead of carrying them;
  • slam the doors;
  • throw paper on the floor instead of in the wastepaper basket;
  • do not clear the table when they have finished their work.

The teacher should never let one of these actions go unnoticed. She must immediately say to the child, but in a way that only he can hear, “When you pass in front of a person, you should ask permission” or, “The chairs are carried in this way.” These things are taught in collective lessons to small groups, particularly to the young children.

The teacher should intervene before, not after, the disorder has occurred. She should, therefore, reprimand those acts that are useless, even if they are not disordered, because these acts are the ones that lead to disorder. For example, two children are joking together. If the teacher does not intervene and turn their attention towards something interesting and intelligent, after a few minutes other children will join in, creating a great disorder. Or, instead of washing his hands, a child is playing with the water. If the teacher does not intervene, the child will start to splash water to the other children, who in turn will imitate him in this play, creating havoc in the classroom.

I have observed these things, one here, one there, on different occasions and with different people. These suggestions have always brought a great improvement in the classroom. With great wonder some teachers have told me that they would never have imagined that a thing so small could have had an effect so great. But as a matter of fact the small details change a mediocre piece of work into a masterpiece.

– Dr. Maria Montessori

Suggestions of How You Can Help Your Child at Home This Summer

Provide for Activities that Encourage lots of Physical Exercise

Current research suggests that there is a direct link to physical exercise and academic excellence. It has been noted that “physical activity may reduce boredom and increase attention span and concentration,” according to a study done by assistant professor of exercise science, Dawn Cole, at Grand Valley State University. In addition, “increased activity levels may also lead to higher self-esteem, which then eventually relates to overall academic performance.” Some of the recommended activities include swimming, tennis, gymnastics/tumbling, dance and creative movement, all of which help to increase vigorous activity levels.

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Minimize Time in Front of the Television/DVD Player and Computer

When we allow our children to spend an excessive amount of time watching television/videos or playing games at the computer, we will begin to see an obvious alteration of behavior, attitude and mood in them. A young child, who sits in front of a television or computer for long periods of time, appears almost fixated on the screen and somewhat oblivious to his/her surroundings. As the impressions on the screen enter the sensitive mind of the child, they begin to form all sorts of perceptions, some of which are incomprehensible, but nevertheless they are there “incarnating themselves in him.” Soon thereafter those models of behavior and social interactions become what the child understands as “normal”, and therefore he/she now acts accordingly. Certainly, parents do not want this for their child.

How about limiting your child’s TV time or computer time to 1/2 hour per day at most? It may sound revolutionary, but try it for two weeks and see if your child isn’t more peaceful, contained and relaxed, possibly thinking more himself that he has, more interested in family social interactions, exhibiting more positive characteristics, and displaying more developmentally appropriate behavior.

Provide Opportunities for Exposure to the Arts

Experiences centered around the arts have proven to increase both student academic achievement, as well as social development. When a child is given the opportunity to take part in a well-crafted program, where the arts are the focus, “the skill and craft gained from the experience will help the student to understand that they can work toward their own self-improvement, and that their heightened skill can give pleasure to themselves and to others.” Research also supports a “direct link between the role of the arts in assisting academic skills, including basic literacy, both verbally and with numbers.” Lastly, the positive social effects gained from an arts program, where the children learn to work together as a cooperative community, are evident when the experience involves developmentally appropriate activities which are more child-centered, rather than adult-directed.

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Respect the Rhythm of the Child

Remember to always create a balance, so that the child’s summer is NOT over-structured with activities. Respect the rhythm of the child, who needs lots of time to grow in a supportive “self-paced” environment.

Have a great summer!