The Importance of Creating Independence in the Montessori Classroom and at Home

When most people think of preschool or kindergarten aged children, they think of vulnerable and dependent young people. It is astonishing to many parents how capable, independent and responsible their three or four year old children can be, once given the opportunity to display these qualities.

All parents love their children and want to nurture them by giving them lots of love, attention, affection, and assistance. However, sometimes by doing too much for a child, we take away their ability to learn efficiently. A child has dozens of opportunities each day to become independent and by doing so, he learns how to think and problem solve for himself, which creates intelligence, cognitive development, and coordination.

Maria Montessori believed that children develop most efficiently and effectively when given the opportunities to create independence in the Montessori classroom according to their sensitive periods. For instance, children typically go through a sensitive period for order between 18 months to 2.5 years. This means that the child during this stage, will have a strong desire for order, repetition, and consistency in his or her environment. Often times when a child will have what people call “tantrums,” he is displaying the need for order in his environment. With order and consistency, also comes independence and personal achievement.

The sensitive period for refinement and coordination of movement is from 2.5 to 4.5 years. During this sensitive period, it is important that the child is given the opportunity to learn to control his own movements. This can be achieved in such exercises as pouring his own water, washing his own hands, opening his own containers, dressing himself/pulling up and down pants, taking out/ cleaning up work activities or toys, watering the plants, washing off dishes, folding laundry, etc.

By allowing the young child to become independent, he or she will develop fine and gross motor skills, build coordination, and refine his mind for future thought processes, academia, and problem solving techniques. Empowering children to develop independence will also build confidence, self esteem, and increase grace and courtesy.

At Wild Roots Preschool and Childcare, we understand that children have a strong desire for order, consistency, and independence. We try to empower children to chose for themselves whenever possible, have natural consequences, and achieve independent milestones, while also giving them love and encouragement.

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