Kids have a special gift that we call “curiosity.” Do you remember when you were young and everything you saw sparked a question or some sense of wonderment? Then, as you grew older, that curiosity started to disappear. This can happen for a number of reasons, but it may have been that your love of learning was not cultivated. When children are able to engage with the things that interest them, when they can freely discover, they will be more excited about learning later in life.
At Montessori schools in Philadelphia, students are encouraged to discover learning through the hands-on materials they’ve been given. Simultaneously, teachers are guiding their students towards an everlasting love of learning. You can do the same at home, and we’re going to give you some tips on how.
Let The Children Play
The first to help your children develop a love of learning is probably the hardest for the parent. You need to back off. Give them the space needed for independence and discovery that doesn’t have any outside distractions. While this may not be what you anticipated, leaving your children to play independently is going to do them a world of wonders. You can watch them tackle challenges on their own. They will not only develop self-confidence but also competence in a wide variety of things.
This doesn’t mean you have to fully remove yourself from the scene either. As a parent, you can stand on the sidelines. Keep a careful watch over your children as they work. If something dangerous begins to unfold, you are free to intervene. If your child makes mistakes, let them work through it on their own. Give them some encouragement or help if they ask for it, but avoid doing the task for them.
Not only will they learn to love solving problems on their own, but they get to refine their critical thinking and executive functioning skills at an early age.
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Encourage Their Interests
One of the most important parts of a Montessori education is encouragement. Kids are constantly encouraged to follow their interests and work on whatever draws them in. Montessori teachers use this to guide the flow of the classroom, too. For example, they will observe children to see where their interests lay. Then, although kids are encouraged to choose their own activities, teachers will provide opportunities that enable children to learn more about the things that interest them.
This can be done anywhere. Parents can invite their children to write and sing songs if they enjoy music. Kids who love preparing their meals could be given the chance to make something for dinner one night. Opportunities can be as simple as drawing pictures of an interest, talking about it, or reading a gifted or borrowed book.
But you shouldn’t merely focus on the interests that your children already know they like. The world is a big place, and there is always something new to learn about. Guide your children towards activities that they may not know they would have enjoyed otherwise. Remember, create opportunities for discovery.
Some examples include:
- Ask your child if there is anything they are curious about
- Have a dialogue about trying something new
- Introduce a new game that you haven’t played yet
One of the well-known phrases of any inquisitive child is, “Why?” Hearing it a million times a day might get aggravating at times, but you should always opt to answer questions when you can. Not only does this show your child that you respect them and their time, but it also enables them to learn about different things. You don’t always have to answer right away either. You may opt to delve into the mystery together. Optionally, you can tell your child that you don’t know the answer to the question, but you can explain what you do understand.
Less Rewards For Learning
You may feel inclined to reward your child with a small gift for a job well done at school or with chores, but those rewards can potentially have a negative impact. Sometimes, rewards will take away from the enjoyment your child had doing the task. We want to encourage an internal sense of pride, and share that pride with our child, rather than giving external rewards.
A better way to reward your child for learning is to, again, give them more information about something they are interested in. By showing interest in their passions, you show them acceptance and give them a confidence boost.
For example, if your child has just blown through several books about Europe, you might say, “Hey, let’s read this book about Ancient Rome together. I think you’ll like it.” They will be more excited about spending time with you and learning than they would if given a small prize or treat.
Parents want the best for their children and hope they are successful later in life. One of the best ways to do that is to instill within your child a love of learning. Work in these tips at home and consider enrolling your child into a Montessori education. At Fishtown Montessori, one of the top Montessori schools in Philadelphia, our passionate teachers will help guide your children and help them develop useful lifetime skills.
Learning is a lifelong experience. Start your children off right with our educational programs. Want more information or have a question? Give us a call at 215-821-1455.