WHY IT’S VITAL TO SET SOCIAL EXPECTATIONS AND MONTESSORI SCHOOL ROUTINES WITH CHILDREN
One of the cornerstones of Montessori education is that it teaches children important life skills, including how to interact with others in a kind and polite way. Montessori students learn at a young age that they are expected to say “please” and “thank you,” to avoid interrupting others who are talking with one another and to greet teachers, fellow students and classroom visitors in a warm, friendly manner, for example.
These skills are particularly important to reinforce at the start of a new school year. The degree to which these lessons are practiced at home will vary, so all students are gently guided to “get on the same page” when the school year begins. If you have a child at Sunnyside Montessori, you may notice them practicing their social skills with you more often when school is in session.
Montessori Schools: Creating a Safe, Inclusive Educational Environment
Encouraging proper social interaction is about more than just helping children make friends and engage in beneficial ways with others—although those certainly are worthwhile goals. When children treat each other with kindness and respect, that behavior helps create an environment where they feel comfortable participating in lessons.
It also helps minimize (or ideally, eliminate) their fear of failing. Knowing that their classmates and teachers will support them and help them learn from their mistakes makes students much more eager to learn. When a student ventures a guess during a lesson and it is incorrect but their response is greeted with smiles and words of encouragement from their peers and teachers, they are more likely to view learning as an exciting opportunity than a difficult challenge.
Establishing Routines Is Fundamental to Montessori Education
Children are most relaxed and comfortable when they understand and can navigate their environment effectively with little or no guidance. For this reason, we establish helpful routines for them. Knowing how and where to store their jacket and other items they bring with them to class, where to go after they put their items away, and what will happen next helps build confidence. The same applies to activities that take place throughout the day.
However, it is important to note that predictability—not rigid adherence to rules—is the objective of establishing basic routines. With this framework in place, children are encouraged to understand and explore the boundaries so that, ultimately, those boundaries can be expanded. But routine provides a comfortable foundation to return to as needed.
And, of course, developing routines helps teachers move students from one lesson or activity to another efficiently so that children get the maximum value from them—whether that means absorbing new material or simply fully enjoying unstructured playtime.
Reinforcing Montessori School Routines and Expectations at Home
It is very helpful if the social expectations and comfort with routines that are taught at Montessori school are reinforced when students are at home. When parents treat their children with kindness and respect, and make it clear that they expect to be treated the same way, it not only benefits the family, but also benefits a child’s teachers and classmates.
The same is true of establishing routines at home. More flexibility may be required at home, but having a well-understood (if general) flow to home activities gives children the same sense of comfort and confidence that they have at school. And just like at school, as they begin to understand the parameters you set for them and your expectations, you can encourage them to respectfully explore the boundaries and extend them.
Raising and Educating Happy, Socially Comfortable, Intellectually Engaged Children
One of the goals of Montessori education is to help children explore the world around them safely, comfortably and confidently. Setting social expectations and creating Montessori School routines is essential to enabling them to do that. It takes patience—for teachers and parents—to continually reinforce this framework, but the benefits last a lifetime!