14 Jun How to Promote Independence & Discovery This Summer
Did you know that children lose an average of one month’s worth of school-year learning over the summer?
Otherwise known as summer learning loss, this phenomenon tends to affect children of higher grade levels ‒ but it can still occur among preschoolers and kindergartners.
Summer has arrived, and Meadow Montessori in Richmond, TX, is here to explore how to promote independence and discovery this summer to keep young children engaged and ready for the upcoming school year.
For more information about enrollment at our Montessori school, contact us today. Otherwise, let’s get started!
Why Is Child Independence Important?
Independence is an inherent quest children pursue as early as infancy ‒ and it’s vital to their development and sense of self. By encouraging independence at a young age, parents can teach their children how to navigate and interact with the world around them.
By becoming independent, children gain an identity, build their self-esteem, and develop coping skills that help them tolerate stress and react positively and constructively to challenging situations.
Independence is also a core principle in Montessori education, and as Maria Montessori described it:
The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his ‘natural development.’
Ways to Promote Independence & Discovery in the Summer
Independence is something we teach in all of our programs at Meadow Montessori. But when school is no longer in session, how do you ensure your child continues to actively learn and practice their independence?
Maintain a Routine
Activities can change on any given day in the summer, so parents don’t necessarily need to follow a rigid schedule. The key is to establish consistency and set predictable routines that your child will carry out, no matter what’s on their plate for that day. By doing so, your child will fulfill their daily responsibilities with less assistance and resistance ‒ and develop self-reliance and empathy in the process.
For example, you can get your child in the routine of brushing their teeth, making their bed, and dressing before playtime or screen time. In the evening, your child can lay out their clothes for the following day, read a bedtime story, and lights out around the same time each night.
Basic everyday chores, like feeding the family pet, watering plants, or helping set the table, can also promote independence and encourage discovery.
Practice Active Observation
With parents around and ample free time on their hands, it’s easier for children to fall into dependent behaviors during the summertime. With that said, it’s all the more important for parents to maintain the roles of observers and facilitators when school is not in session.
Your child will constantly face new problems and challenges throughout the day, like putting their shoes on the wrong feet or squabbling with a friend or sibling over a toy. As a parent, it’s important to let your child navigate whatever challenge presents itself and intervene when they ask for help or when they need redirection, encouragement, or positive reinforcement.
You can also be more active in your role as an observer and facilitator by integrating puzzles, crafts, and science projects as regular weekly activities during the summer. Compliment your child on their work, and when they get frustrated, encourage them to keep trying and acknowledge their hard work and persistence.
By practicing active observation and facilitating problem-solving activities, your child will have an easier time adjusting to school in the fall.
Encourage Free Play
How else can parents promote independence and discovery in the summer?
Unstructured play is equally as important as setting intentional activities like the ones previously mentioned. Because when children play freely, they can exert their independence, fall back on their creativity, learn from their experiences, and practice problem-solving.
Add a summer flair to playtime by incorporating water games and activities in the backyard. Water balloon tossing is a great way for kids to stay cool and practice their coordination skills. You could also fill a kiddie pool and try a sink/float experiment with different objects of varying weights.
There’s also lots to observe in nature! Schedule beach days throughout the summer or go for nature walks in the mornings or evenings when the temperatures are cooler.
When it’s too hot to go outside, create a prepared home environment and supply your child with different play materials and activities to do in the house. Let your child choose which toys and activities they play and engage with. Again, as an active observer and facilitator, you as the parent should watch your child, only intervening when necessary if they’re experiencing difficulty or ask for help.
Promote Your Child’s Independence & Growth This Summer
By practicing active observation as a parent and encouraging your child to free play and maintain a routine, you can promote independence and discovery and help your child have fun and stay prepared for the upcoming school year!
Are you interested in enrolling your child in a Montessori program in the fall? Located in Richmond, TX, Meadow Montessori provides a variety of programs for children between the ages of 3 months and 6 years. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a tour!