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Wheaton Montessori News

Raising an Adult

Categories: Montessori At Home / The Montessori Difference

Dr. Montessori valued children, not just for their roles in play and childlike activities. Dr. Montessori valued the potential adult inside each student, truly respecting the development of the child as a whole. In our own lives, outside of the Montessori classroom, valuing the potential adult in our child is just as important.

As a parent or parent figure, our job is NOT to teach our child to be a child; after all, our goal is for our children to become an independent, self-confident adult. Our job is to guide our children to be confident in their independence and self-reliance. Providing clear direction, modeling responsibility, and promoting an environment of self-sufficiency are necessary to your child to become an adult capable of taking on the challenges of adulthood.

How can we “be an adult raising an adult”* at home? 

A three-year-old is easily able to dress herself, get herself a drink, fix a simple snack, wash hands, brush teeth, and more. Setting up your child’s environment to aid them in these tasks is the key to allowing her to attempt the challenge – and succeed.

  • Clothes hung where the child can reach allow the child to select an outfit independently.
  • In the kitchen, cups, plates, and utensils within reach of the child allow her to get her own drink, set her place at the table, and help with kitchen tasks.
  • A snack cupboard low enough for the child to access, a child-sized table, and a step stool in the kitchen will allow her to choose and prepare a snack for herself.
  • Step stools in the bathrooms and at hand-washing stations allow the child to begin learning good hygiene habits and to reinforce independence through self-initiated repetition.
  • Placing puzzles, books, games, and art materials at child-level, near an inviting workplace will encourage your child to make choices, participate in self-directed “work,” and be responsible for her own materials.

Henry - Hanging up Coat for Blog  Noah - Selecting Fruit for Blog Aarush - Handwashing for Blog

Above all, allow your child to try. Allow your child to fail. Through trial and error, your child will learn perseverance. Your child will learn to be independent. Your child will learn how to be an adult.

For further reading:

  • Schmidt, M. “Understanding Normalization: The Process of Natural Human Development,” AMI/USA News., Vol. XIV, No. 3, Rochester, NY. (2010).
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