Adult Roles in Educating our Children

Every day at The Carolyn Barron Montessori School, our faculty and staff are mindful to ensure growth and a pursuit of knowledge in each child.  We have many materials and activities at our disposal to spark wonder and discovery in every child.  However, we consider the partnership between the guide, child, and parent to be irreplaceable and unmatched.  This does not take away from the significance of the materials, the observations of the guide, the preparation of the community, or the importance of the multi-aged make up of the children.

We have observed that the way a child learns is dependent upon his perception of safety and belonging.  All of the adult and peer roles are significant in this observation and in each child’s ability to learn and progress.  First, the child must feel love from others and be able to internalize this and love himself.  As parents, we have the opportunity to establish this immediately in our child through words, actions, and the giving of our time.  We have the chance to kiss good morning or good night, read a story over and over, offer a hug or loving advice.   As teachers or guides, we take the time to get to know each child, we  show respect, observe, offer opportunities and help the child in challenging situations.  These situations may be academic or social.  We can offer words to encourage, listen, guide, and support.  These acts of kindness are usually all it takes for most children to settle into his or her classroom community.

Once the child feels safe and ready to learn, the child will naturally begin to take on personal responsibilities for his/her own education with support from the teacher and parents.  The Montessori communities are organized and set up in a very specific manner in order to aid the child in his/her independence and enhance learning.  Lessons are given, work is completed and practiced repeatedly until mastered.  The child is able and allowed to work undisturbed or he/she may decide to work in a group when appropriate.   The child learns from exploring and discovering, and learns to teach others,  becoming a mentor and a leader to his/her peers.    Along this educational journey, the child excels, but also makes mistakes, but learns to draw conclusions, make predictions, and solve problems.  These characteristics lead the child towards independence and in acquiring the life skills he/she will someday need in order to be a productive member of society.

Parents are our partners in helping their child find success and joy in learning.  Good sleep, food, routines, and friends matter a great deal in the life of children.   A day goes much better for a well rested and nourished child.  However, we are all allowed to have the occasional bad day, children are no exception.   Whether the child is having a bad day at home or school, both teacher and parent need to be in communication in order to help the child move through his/her feelings in a positive manner.

It is true that parents are the child’s first teacher.  School teachers are responsible for serving the parents and children as mentors and guides in his/her educational journey.  It is the partnering together, even in the home that leads to your child’s educational success.  We encourage families to explore and discover together, and create opportunities for independence and responsibility for the child.  The child is a productive and contributing member of the family unit.  The child feels empowered when included in the daily activities of family life.   For advice on how you can help your child at home, please contact your child’s teacher.  

Kelly Whisenhunt