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“Education requires parents, teacher, and child to work together in cooperation. A weakness in any of these decreases the efficiency of others while inhibiting the development of the child.” — Maria Montessori

At Creative Minds Montessori School, we are different from traditional schools. Our first commitment is to the multi-dimensional development of the child. Our children acquire a great deal of knowledge in school; however, we believe each child to be much more than a vessel for this information. We guide each child to think for themselves. Yes, cognitive development and a strong academic foundation are important; however, they represent only one dimension of our hopes for your child. Equally important is your child’s social, emotional, spiritual and physical development.

In Montessori education, there are three important roles: the child, the parent and the teacher. Each role is unique, essential and interconnected. Like the sides of an equilateral triangle, each role is a distinct and separate part, and yet, each connects directly with the others. Children are best supported when the adults in their lives communicate with each other and trust each other. It is a vital partnership and it plays a major role in your child’s success at Creative Minds Montessori.

CMMS confidently believes that parents are the primary educators of their children, and as such, the success of your child’s experience depends on a vibrant collaboration between our school and our parents.

Have you ever wondered: How can I best support my child’s learning? How can I use Montessori ideas and principles at home to boost my child’s overall growth?

Here is a list of Montessori tips and guidelines to help you enhance and support your child’s growth at home:

Support creativity. A child’s creativity is more than simple amusement. It defines their ability to solve problems, make decisions, entertain themselves and perceive the world in their own fascinating manner. Their capacity to think and act creatively enables them to be flexible and open to changing life circumstances. Support your child’s creativity and share in their excitement with materials such as the Montessori alphabet, sensorial boxes and mixed media supplies.

Maintain order. In Montessori schools, children are encouraged to keep the classroom in order. A clean and organized environment helps children be independent in what they do for themselves and fosters better concentration on necessary objects. Parents can support their children’s desire for order through home organization. For example, parents can designate a special child-friendly, child-accessible area for footwear and clothing. In the child’s bedroom, place hooks, shelves and storage bins, so that children can easily access the things they need and put them away without parents’ help.

Let children do things on their own. Independence is a key to building your child’s self-confidence, and household tasks are the best way to support it. At CMMS, our children are encouraged to perform practical life tasks on their own. When they feel they are capable by simply dusting a shelf or sweeping the floor, they will feel empowered to manage more complicated tasks.

Embrace nature. The Montessori philosophy entwines children with nature. By being out in nature, children develop a sense of wonder that cannot be cultivated in any other environment. They become better learners and are able to maintain attention and focus. Walks in the woods, working together in the garden or beach-combing are great ways to enjoy nature!

Teach children through modeling. Children love to imitate what their parents say or do. Use this ability to your advantage when your child engages in a negative behavior. Model how it should be done without judging or criticizing them. Make your child aware of their mistakes subtly and gently.

Use encouragement, not rewards. Children love to be praised when they do things right. However, some parents believe in giving rewards, such as sweets, money or toys when they want to “encourage” their child. As a result, the child learns to work solely to get a reward. But what happens when that reward loses its attractiveness?

At CMMS, we firmly believe children should have an intrinsic motivation to do things because it brings value to themselves. Encouraging statements like “You did it on your own!” or “You’ve worked hard to succeed!” are far better than sweets and toys.

Creative Minds Montessori School believes that teaching children effectively requires close collaboration between parents, teachers and administration. As a Montessori parent, learn as much as you can about Montessori principles by reading Maria Montessori’s books, volunteering at school and attending parent meetings or parent/teacher conferences. Your child will thrive when home and school work in harmony — when both environments share the same educational values and expectations.

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Diane M. Bauso is head of school for Creative Minds Montessori School, 169 Genesee St., Auburn. She can be reached at (315) 406-9495 or auburncmms.com.

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