Are Annual Days Montessori?

Children on stage, being told what to say and when. Costumes, a new venue, a departure from routine. What’s Montessori about that? Yet, we at Anthea believe in annual days. We cherish the feeling of community coming together to celebrate. We love watching children find the confidence to express themselves on stage.

For us, this day is always about the child, rather than the audience. Your child’s role has been designed per their comfort. Those who do not want to talk or dance are not forced to. Those who prefer to just stand in a group are invited to do so. Despite all this, it is entirely possible that your child may not want to perform on the day, or even come on stage. That’s okay!

Our focus is on ensuring comfort, and fostering confidence organically. We honour each child’s journey, and that may mean embracing the spotlight only when they’re ready. Remember: it’s not just about a day; it’s about a lifelong journey of self-discovery.

Healing Generational Hurt

We have to understand the past to embrace the future. Much of how we react as parents is based on what we experienced as children. Trauma therapist, Morgan Pommells, named some common patterns, which reflect past wounds:

• Refusing to apologize because you’re the parent & you know best
• Giving people the silent treatment when you’re upset
• Using shame to manipulate children (“Nobody will like you if…”)
• Believing your child should be grateful because you feed & house them
• Saying “I guess I’m the worst parent” when children share how they feel
• Calling your child dramatic when they are genuinely upset
• Treating siblings differently, indicating a clear favourite
• Depending on children for emotional support, the way you would with a partner
• Weaponing the other parent against them (“You’re acting just like your father!”)

If you remember these patterns in your parents, or recognize them in yourself, this is an invitation to stop and reflect. We need to heal from our own wounds, so we do not repeat these patterns with our children.

Dealing with Disappointment

Recently, we had to cancel a much-awaited Primary field trip due to rains. As parents and children came in, we heard various responses to the news. Some children were so upset, they didn’t come to school. On the other end, we had a child who met us with a plan B and a plan C as backup, so we could go ahead with an outing!

Much as we’d like to, we can’t protect our children from ever being hurt or disappointed. There will be times when things don’t go to plan. This can be a good thing. As adults, we can provide children a safe space to learn to cope with disappointment. This will empower them to face the challenges that are sure to come later in their lives.

What can you do when your child is feeling disappointed?

  • Your child takes their cues from you. It’s possible some things don’t affect them as much, or for the same reasons. It’s important to keep your own feelings aside when you talk to your child, and hear what THEY are feeling.
  • Listen and acknowledge the problem. Don’t downplay it, or rush your child into moving on. What they’re feeling is valid. Naming the emotion they’re feeling helps them recognize it, and remember it the next time something similar happens.
  • Address and correct the responses to that disappointment, when necessary – being sad is okay, hitting because you’re sad isn’t.

Once the immediate reaction has passed and the child is ready to talk:

  • Discuss if there’s anything you can do to solve the problem. Let your child do the problem-solving rather than suggesting solutions yourself. Remember, they’re building skills for life. Initially, children may need to be given an option for a solution as a starting point. Make sure the solutions offered aren’t ‘quick-fixes’.

In this instance, where rain cancelled a field trip, a viable solution may be rescheduling for a date when the weather is better. Taking them somewhere else yourself instead is NOT a viable solution, since it teaches your child that you will always rescue them. Again, it is important for them to process that not everything works out as planned.

  • Discuss tangible things that can help your child recentre when they’re feeling big emotions. It may be a calm corner of the house they want to go to, or a person they want to hug, or an object they want to hold tight. Help them set up this mechanism for future instances.
  • Make it a point to model and talk through times when you are disappointed, so they realize this is a challenge adults work on too.

5 Tips for Cultivating Concentration

In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to concentrate is crucial for both academic success and overall well-being. Montessori classrooms’ emphasis on concentration aligns with neuroscience findings, indicating that true brain plasticity occurs when we focus. In a world inundated with constant stimuli and digital distractions, the sanctuary of focused, uninterrupted moments becomes a precious gift we can offer our children. Here’s how you can support concentration at home:

1️⃣ Environment: Create a peaceful, distraction-free space at home. Minimize sensory stimuli to allow focused attention; consider a quiet corner or a dedicated area. Provide a designated area where various activities are easily accessible, fostering a sense of organization.

2️⃣ Respect: Understand and respect your child’s need for uninterrupted exploration. Avoid the urge to intervene, praise, or ‘fix’ their work; let them discover things for themselves. Minimize interruptions during your child’s focused activities. If interruptions are inevitable, inform your child in advance to respect the importance of their ‘work.’

3️⃣ Choice: Observe your child’s interests to guide them in extending their concentration. Provide choices related to their interests, empowering them with autonomy.

4️⃣ Modeling: Exaggerate your efforts when concentrating to set an example for your child. Encourage a serious approach to tasks by showcasing the importance of focus.

5️⃣ Repetition: Promote problem-solving and persistence through repeated engagement. After completing an activity, encourage your child to try it again or practice a similar skill with different materials.

Incorporating Montessori practices at home aligns with our school environment, promoting a deeper level of concentration in children. This skill lays the groundwork for a lifetime of continuous learning.