Warm greeting to everyone, how are everyone doing this week? How was the weekend? Have you shared your experience with observation on our post or with a family member or a friend? How were the “Observe the needs of your child individually” sessions go? I am excited to find out what you have watched, listened, noticed and made notes of. I hope it was as rewarding for you as it was for me. Were you able to apply and translate the needs of your child into Individual Attention? Now that you have had a chance to Observe your child and to give them some Individual Attention; it is time for us to discuss how children of different ages work together in harmony.
Many parents have asked me the following question when they are exploring the idea of putting their children in a Montessori Environment. They asked, “why do you have children of different ages in the same classroom, isn’t it hard for the children and doesn’t that lead to a chaotic classroom, isn’t it much easier as a teacher to have a class of children of the same age?” From my many years spent in a Montessori classroom I have confirmed that the answer to all those questions is “no”.
I have observed that children have a natural need to nurture others and lead others. They need each other. A child of two and half to three years old look up to a child who is five years old for comfort and familiarity when he or she goes to the Montessori classroom for the very first time. The child who is five and soon to be six years old shows the ability to care for his or her young friend, because he or she has been through that first day experience. It is such a beautiful image seeing them holding hands with each other as the young child slowly stops crying and begins to smile; as the older child feel confident in his or herself and proud of what he or she has accomplish to the caring of others.
Parents, isn’t it wonderful that you have that opportunity to observe this nurturing tendency within your own family when you have more then one child? Yes, it is not always a picture perfect moment when there is sibling conflict, but we are all learning to paint that picture perfect moment more often everyday with our children. Why do we as parents need to give our children the Individual Attention? It is because it is only after we know our child’s individual needs that we are able to group them together in harmony.
Group activities for children to participate as a family
- After they have their individual attention, we maybe able to find out each child’s unique gift and abilities. For example, E. and H. love to do a lot of cooking and baking in the kitchen. Depending on the menu we have come up with together, E. is contributing her ability at home by pealing the carrots, cutting the mushrooms, and marinate meats with gloves on. On the other hand H. wants to learn and contribute to the family as well. She loves water so she is able to contribute by washing vegetables and fruits. Some other activities that they can do together are to both help to do some preparation with the vegetables. It could be a very simple dish with different layers of difficulties to meet the individual child’s need.
- Suggestions for Activities to do with your individual child (please keep in mind of their daily routines and age abilities)
- Have a nature walk together and talk about what each other has observed?
- Have a cooking session. Have fun making lunch or dinner such as personalized pizza, tortilla, sushi bento, Vietnamese wrap.
- Have a car wash.
- Help to clean the house such as wiping the table, chairs, windows and mirrors. They can also wipe/mop the floor if the child is able to do so.
- Doing laundry together. Have the older child hold the garment bag and the younger child put the dirty clothes into the garment bag. Depending on the ability of the child, they can zip up the garment bag and help put it into the washing machine.
- Help to clean their room by folding their own clothes or by putting the hanger on the clothes.
- Make a surprise project for someone such as Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas.
- Make a grocery list with your children and have a fun trip at the market.
- Have a book reading session and give each child the chance to express what they have learnt from the book they read together.
- Plan a trip together. Ask your child to see what they need. Depending on the ability of your child, the older child can come up and write a list of things they need for the trip and they younger child can help put the items in the suitcase.
Enjoy your time learning from you children
- The key word of everything I have shared is to enjoy, enjoy and enjoy it. The joy of learning will only be experienced in our lives and the lives of our children when it is fun and enjoyable. The positive mechanism can come out more easily through having fun with what we are experiencing and learning. Moreover, our precious little one needs us to send positive thoughts and messages of encouragement as they continue to explore life on their own. Life is not always fair, but we can change that with a great attitude towards life. Always be positive with whatever the journey ahead of you takes you.
A special note for the mothers who are reading our post, I want to encourage you and remind myself; you are a wonderful individual who is able to do all things. Just don’t forget to take a moment to breath and smile as your child looks up to you as role model for life.
Now I have shared what OIGE stands for enjoy life, enjoy your discovery of your children. Happy sharing everyone!