December 07, 2018
Milestones can be reached at any age and are thrilling to observe. Developmental benchmarks often bring to mind walking and talking. At Monti Kids, we like to celebrate those that get less attention and are just as important. Concentration, independence, exploration, and perseverance are habits that can be developed early and lay the foundation for future learning.
Our little ones work hard as their brains develop. They impress and surprise us, and that is cause for celebration! Here’s a little more about the Monti Kids Milestones we hold dear:
Has your baby gazed up studiously at a mobile, listened attentively as you read a picture book together, or surprised you with a new vocabulary word? Even the youngest babies are capable of extended periods of concentration when provided with developmentally appropriate toys and the time and space to explore them. Building this ability to focus and learn will serve them throughout their education, and they will grow up to be more creative, joyful, and capable. Montessori settings develop this important skill by providing a rich environment, an appropriate level of challenge, the freedom of self-direction, and the opportunity to engage in physical and cognitive tasks simultaneously.
Everyday is a learning safari for your little one’s developing brain! Studies have shown that babies at play act as researchers: exploring, experimenting and imagining new possibilities. Montessori prescribes learning through doing, engaging as many senses as possible to fully capture your child’s attention and promote the synthesis of information. Motor and cognitive development are intimately connected. As your baby moves about their environment freely, they internalize everything that they discover. There is a magical nature to the way your child absorbs the world around them as their personality and skills blossom.
Have you watched your little one investigate a toy, reworking the pieces until they master it? Your child learns best when the challenge in front of them is at the right level: not so easy that they are bored or so difficult that they are frustrated. The Montessori curriculum is thoughtfully designed and timed to create this rewarding zone for learning. When your little one picks up a new toy, they might struggle with it at first as they develop a new skill, but with time they are able to practice and master it. This enhances their self esteem from a young age, and gives them the understanding that they have the power to reach a goal if they work at it! Children with this mindset persevere longer on challenging tasks, leading to greater success in school, careers, and relationships. It is also a valuable 21st Century skill, as new technology requires us to teach ourselves the tools we need to communicate and live.
In the words of Maria Montessori:
“It is surprising to notice that even from the earliest age, man finds the greatest satisfaction in feeling independent. The exalting feeling of being sufficient to oneself comes as a revelation.”
There is nothing like the pride of watching your little one make a discovery without your help. You can encourage independence and self-direction by thoughtfully arranging your home and providing developmentally appropriate toys with a playspace in which to engage with them. Perhaps most important is the way you interact with your child–trusting them to do things on their own (with your observation, of course), and empowering them to make some of their own choices (what book to read, what clothing to wear) from a young age. You might begin to hear your little one say things like, “By myself,” and “I do it,” because they want to do things independently! It is up to us to give them opportunities to combine their intellect, will, and movement to act independently. This builds their self-confidence and internal locus of control: the sense that they are capable and powerful. Studies show that when children have more control over their learning they work harder, perform better, retain more information, and are more creative and joyful.