When working with small children, there are highs and lows – for educator and child alike. Sometimes, it can be difficult to ride the waves of emotion, progress, and change. Despite the challenges, working with toddlers is an incredible experience – one that can be just as rewarding for the educator as it is for the child. To help you make the most of your experience as a Montessori educator, read on for some practical, Montessori-inspired tips for working with toddlers.
Keep Them Engaged
Toddlers are high-energy, curious little people who are always looking for something to get into. When a young child is misbehaving, it could be that they need stimulation. You’re well aware that the Montessori classroom is a very child-centered environment with a lot to offer young minds. But, there are some things you can do for children who need a little extra engagement. One tip to try is to create “busy bags” or other activities that are not within reach, so you have something fresh to offer.
Set Simple, Consistent Rules
Toddlers need structure and simple boundaries. Keep rules easy to state and remember, repeating them as often as necessary. Don’t set too many rules, otherwise the child will be overwhelmed. Young children have difficulty with cause and effect, so explaining the details of why the rules are in place might not be the best idea at this age. Instead, use easy to understand phrases to get the idea across. Create a few simple rules, and make sure to consistently enforce them so the child knows what is expected of them.
Teach Story-Time Lessons
One of the best ways to show children how to handle difficult situations is through story. From learning how to share to developing bathroom independence, storytelling is a great way to engage children while teaching them valuable life lessons. Involving the children in the story by talking about it afterward is a great way to fortify the “moral of the story” while growing reading comprehension skills.
Use positive language
One of the greatest challenges Montessori educators face when working with Toddlers is learning to say “no” without actually saying it. Though it’s important to set boundaries, saying “no” too often can lead to an increase in defiant behavior. Instead, try phrases like, “That isn’t for (child’s name),” and “Let’s try this instead.” Redirection is a great way to avoid tantrums while teaching the child what is acceptable and what is not.
Encourage Their Need for Independence
If you’re around toddlers for long, you’re sure to hear phrases like, “I do it myself,” and “that’s mine!” This is completely normal as a child moves from being a completely dependent infant into an independent toddler. Encourage this while helping the child to express themselves in a positive and respectful way. Allow the child to help prepare snacks, clean up around the classroom, and do as much for themselves as possible. Forging independence and a “you can do it” atmosphere is an essential Montessori element, one that toddlers crave.
The Montessori method of education offers great insight into the growing of young minds. With a foundation of individual attention, child-centered learning, independence and social development – your role as a Montessori educator is very important as you learn and grow together!
Adm1n January 25th, 2017