Just what is a pre-schooler capable of?


Anything is possible IF a child displays an interest (they “want” to), and if you break a task down into small enough steps.  Naturally, all children want to contribute to their community, and to do meaningful work with their hands – “the tools of man’s intelligence” (Dr Maria Montessori).

Some children like to hammer nails into a stump (gross motor skills), and some like to make lines of paper dolls (fine motor / scissor skills).  Others like to practice grating soap (use of a grater), and they enjoy using the whisk to make bubbles (muscles also used for writing), grinding coffee (following a process to completion), cutting fruit (preparation of kai), or helping to maintain the classroom by sweeping with a child-sized broom into a chalk circle (providing a centre point for the sweepings to go to).  All of these basic activities are practical life skills that are useful around the house.  

Some children also like to teach other children how to do things too, just like the adults.  If it contributes to the community, or there is purpose or meaning in the work, it is interesting work to the child and so they want to do it.  If they want to do it, they will learn the fastest.

At Montessori, we teach children how to do simple things… toddlers can set the table, pour their own water, chop fruit, put on their own shoes and socks, water the plants and take work off the shelf to use before putting it away again.  

Children have an innate need for independence and to have things around them “in order”, and so Montessori classrooms are therefore maintained by the children themselves.  They clean up when they spill paint or coloured water, they learn to respect their environment (by putting things away into their proper place) and to respect each other (by asking to play).

A new child into our Montessori environment will often tinker with the equipment as they pass, and so they are instinctively followed by an experienced child who will be naturally straightening things and returning them to the way they should be.  This sensitive period of order is natural child-like behaviour, and when you see a Montessori community in action, it is a fantastic phenomenon to witness. Montessori children truly put away after themselves!

If you want more for your child than play-care, if you value your child’s independence being nurtured, and you want your child’s interests to be followed (after all, children who are interested in a task will learn it the fastest), then a Montessori pre-school is 100 percent the best place for you to send your child!

You can find us on Tawa St (Melville) or Brooklyn Road (Claudelands)… we have vacancies now for children zero to six years of age.  Come and visit us to see for yourself!  www.fcm.nz  

By Rowena Harper 


About Author

Waikato Business News

Your source for local business news in Waikato