One of the most crucial and large differences between Montessori and conventional schooling is in the realm of meaning and context. Montessori is more of a secular monastery for the encouragement and realization of each person’s full potential as a connected, aware, intelligent being. We focus on experiential learning.
“The outing whose aim is neither purely…[health]nor [a practical need], but that which makes an experience live, will make the child conscious of realities.” – Maria Montessori. Get out there, explore and experience the world. This year we have been constrained by many things, such as, our opportunities outside the classroom (field trips or going outs). Use your summer break to get out in the world, safely. Follow your child’s interests and find ways to experience these things first hand.
Here are some Montessori-inspired strategies to keep in mind to make the most of your child’s summer:
Include them in planning. For children, being involved adds a sense of responsibility and value. As they take part of planning activities, they are more likely to cooperate if their top choices are part of the itinerary/plan.
- Share the details, include the nitty gritty logistics. This type of detail may seem boring, but children are more successful with breaks if they have fair warning and know what to expect.
- Enable independence. If taking a trip, allow your child to pack their own bag, activities, snacks, or all of them! When you arrive to your destination make sure they have their own space to organize their things.
- Allow for free time. Resist the temptation to see and do everything. Schedule time to unwind and release energy if not a movement focused activity.
- Go outside every day. Spend some time in the fresh air, a no “shush” zone where they can explore more freely.
- Document it. Have open ended creative minded options that involve art supplies or journaling. Take time each day to include these activities. Journaling in particular can be a nice way to keep tabs on all the great memories being made. Plan an “End of summer recap” to share and reflect upon their journal entries or art pieces.
- Create a summer routine. Keeping some kind of routine will make transitioning back to school in the fall smoother. Routines are general guides to our day that can flex. If star gazing made for a late night, sleeping a little extra is a must, then move into your routine. Summer is when we take extra time to talk and enjoy each other’s insights and perspectives!
“These children have free choice all day long. Life is based on choice, so they learn to make their own decisions. They must decide and choose for themselves all the time…They cannot learn through obedience to the commands of another.” Maria Montessori (1989, p.26)