Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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WHAT DID YOU THINK?
Or maybe the real question is did you think? In our enrichment curriculum are post-it notes designed to give our children a chance to stop and think critically about the material we’re studying. They are questions of “what if” something else happened or “what if” they were in the story or the place. The critical thinking skills might be compare and contrast between two animals, two tastes, or two stories. We might consider which of the folk tales might be true, like Davy Crockett, and which might not be true, like Paul Bunyan. The real deal is that we want our children to be able to think intentionally.

Before the age of 6, children simply absorb knowledge. Maria Montessori called it the absorbent mind. Up to about 3 years old, it’s an unconscious learning. It’s how we learn to walk, our language, and how to use a fork. Between 3 and 6, learning is more conscious. But after 6, children move into a time when they’re more able to focus, to control impulses, to imagine the future, and to reason. When we consider the goal of developing life-long learners, we know that it’s an attitude that’s not just taught, it’s caught. It takes deliberate practice for the children and constant role modeling on our part. It takes moving out of our comfort zone and constantly stretching to be better. Brazilian soccer teams, considered to be the best in the world, practice on a basketball-sized court to increase their speed, their teamwork, and their strategies. If they stay on a comfortable field, they’re not learning, they’re in a rut.

What “stretch” are we demonstrating to our children? Do we talk in our families about trying new things, about making things better, about not staying comfortable? Do we live intentionally? The Brazilian soccer teams have figured out what skills they need to know and they’ve designed practices to develop those skills. Consider what skills you want your child to have. In our curriculum, some of the things we focus on are courage, teamwork, compassion, joy, and independence. Children naturally delight in developing their ability to stack the last small cube at the top of the pink tower, at being able to carry without spilling the water, or getting the hundred board laid out correctly. We’re careful to encourage not so much the innate talents of intelligence or beauty or athleticism but developed skills of perseverance and accomplishment. A child who’s been taught that he’s really smart sometimes panics at trying something that might demonstrate that he’s not so smart. But the girl who’s encouraged to try again learns she can stretch farther and confidently, especially with the support of caring adults and peers.

Our world has a lot of very real problems, but they’re not problems that we should just pass on to our children. They’re problems that we need to work on now while our children learn how to engage with the world. We may not be able to stop pollution, but we can be careful not to litter. We may not be able to eliminate disease, but we can be careful to eat healthy and be fit. We may not be able to cure loneliness, but we can give our little one a hug when we greet him in the af-ternoon.

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