Recently, I’ve read several articles in which articulate, well-informed commentators caution parents against emphasizing academics for preschool children, and which advocate “developmentally appropriate play-based preschools” as a better alternative.
Here’s a lovely little letter I just received that ended thusly:
….People like you that just send their kids out for the vultures of the world because you THINK you are doing them a favor, are horrible, lazy, undeserving so-called parents. What a shame that God would bless you with something for which you show such little disregard.
And you have a nice day, too!
For children who are at home during the summer break, parents will wish to work diligently with slowing the pace of life. Children will savor the leisurely passage of time in which they can relish individual choices, uninterrupted play, ample rest and sleep, unhurried meals and unplugged screens. Here are just a few ideas of how a child can fill her long lovely summer days and return to school refreshed, nourished and eager:
Whenever you feel like turning on the TV or playing computer games, first come get this list of ideas and pick something from it to do before you spend any time in front of a screen. Then, if you still want to sit in front of a screen, set a timer for 30 minutes and make yourself turn off the electronics when the timer goes off. Be sure to limit yourself to no more than one hour of combined screen time per day.
At the end of the day, however, the fact is that we educate ourselves. We learn, first of all, by deciding to learn, by committing to learning. This commitment allows, in turn, for concentration.
Motherhood is always a revolution, a before and after event unlike any other. Before the birth of a child, a woman is uniquely herself in one way. When she becomes a mother, her life is forever different. Eating, sleeping and working will never feel the same. Simple decisions become complicated.
When a mom does her job well, her adult children achieve independence and leave home feeling strong, internally motivated by the knowledge their mother believed they were worth fighting for.
Revolutionary mothers alter the course of human history one life at a time, launching their grown-up children in to the world with confidence and a few good stories to inspire from within.
Dr. Angeline Lillard, professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, author of Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, as well as several academic articles on Montessori, and Montessori speaker and advocate, has a new article in the American Journal of Play: Playful Learning and Montessori Education. It’s long, dense but readable, and bristling with objectivity, academic citations, and peer-reviewed research.
With a dismissive gesture of the hand, Paula replied, “Nah, don’t ask her. She doesn’t know anything! I saw a chemistry book in the library, let’s look there.”
I recently visited a Montessori school in Arizona and had the opportunity to observe in the toddler classroom. On this particular morning there were eight children present, the youngest being 18 months of age and the oldest close to 30 months. It was toward the end of the morning, and the children were choosing their own activities. One little boy was using the colorful wooden rings of a stacking toy, while nearby another was working on his buttoning skills. Several children were engaged in art activities – coloring, pasting shapes on paper, and modeling clay – while others were matching objects to corresponding pictures.
Fourteen years ago the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement addressing children’s screen time that created a media hubbub. The statement was weak and ineffective. The ruckus was in grand disproportion to the Academy’s ho-hum recommendation that parents “avoid television for children under the age of two years.” It generated no positive results. Screen time for all children continues to increase. Parents still consider the television a member of the family. Mobile apps are every parent’s new best friend.
A tired working mother stood in the classroom doorway, ready to depart with her two sons. Separated in age by two years, the boys were as different in appearance as they were in temperament, but they were great kids. They enjoyed math and reading, laughed hard and punched hard. They loved learning, loved life, loved each other.
“I’m going to most of the Conversations with Donna Bryant Goertz,” said the mom, “as many as I can, anyway,” she added. “But not the one on death! I can’t bring myself to think about dealing with this subject with my child. I’ll wait to face that when I have to.”
It takes time for children to differentiate between fact and wish. It takes time for them to realize that they cannot make something become so simply because they say it is so. After all, children hear adults say all manner of outlandish things, things that stun and amaze them. It must seem to children that […]
The elementary years are years of vigorous, continual growth, stretched between the two poles of the first and third planes of development. Building on the foundation – whether solid or shaky – of the first six years, they aim for the heights of adolescence. Everything that we have a hope of understanding about these elementary children can be understood as a function of three things: the raw materials of personhood that they bring with them from early childhood; the developmental trajectory toward adolescence; and the quality of the support and protection they have from us along the way.