Wheaton Montessori News
One of the biggest areas of focus at Wheaton Montessori School is that of self-advocacy in our students, even at the young age of 2.5. At a staff meeting this spring, Mrs. Fortun noted that this is one of the most important ways we can raise children who can look out for themselves, speak up in the face of injustice, and help others in need.
Why, and how, do we focus on this at such an early age? Why do we continue to stress self-advocacy with our students for their entire time at Wheaton Montessori School?
Children must practice solving small problems by themselves to have any chancy of advocating on their own behalf when a larger problem arises. In the classroom, it also helps to form a relationship of trust and respect. Through repeated conflict resolution, having their thoughts heard and respected, and establishing an open line of communication, students and children will be able to speak up when something truly bad is happening.
Again, if we handle all of the small problems for our children, they will have no skills at all to try and solve a big one. This is why many times our parents hear, “Have your child come talk to me!” when they call. When it’s a problem we know your children can solve, we want them to have the experience in solving it. When it’s a problem we can solve together, we want them to have the experience solving it together – not having it solved for them.
We encourage children to speak respectfully to one another when a conflict arises. We focus on listening to your children when they have an issue and encourage them to do the same. Woven into lessons on communication is the expectation that we are available to communicate with our students at all times. We implore you as parents to encourage your children to speak with their classroom teachers and classmates when a small issue or conflict arises, rather than going through a third person or intermediary. Only with repeated practice will your child learn the skills needed for self-advocacy.