December 5, 2022
The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 3
In our previous blog posts: The Transition from Toddler to Casa, Parts 1 and 2, we discussed some of the characteristics of the Casa child as he/she gains more independence, an increased vocabulary and the connection to the meaning as well as the importance of practical life and how it helps the child to help him/herself. In Part 3 we will focus on how you can implement practical life and language development in your everyday life.
Working on this in the home and as a natural part of your life is easier and more rewarding than one might think. It doesn’t take ‘set-up’, time or even cost – it takes forward thinking and an understanding of seeing the home, the grocery store, the park, etc. – through your child’s eyes. It can be interjected into everything you do with your child/children.
One thing to always keep in mind is that it is the process not the product that counts. Looked at from a scientific perspective, you are giving your children the tools for them to construct themselves. Through implementation and repetition they will be guided towards mastery. It is the process, the “struggle” that gives them great pride and a sense of accomplishment, it also helps them develop drive and concentration.
A child of this age is always wanting to help in the home. It is a need, a desire to feel a part of the family and to know they have a place in the family. They are in effect seeking to be part of a community.
There are always language opportunities as we engage in daily activities. Do not hold back on using proper terminology with your children. They are taking it all in. A bird need not simply be a bird. Is it a cardinal? A blue jay? Children at this age are hungry for language and the words which help them classify their impressions.
In the home children want to do as you do, and activities like collecting laundry, sorting and putting it away actually helps them organize their minds. You can be at the grocery store for example counting apples, placing them gently into the bag so as not to bruise them, having your child hold the bag while feeling the weight of it as more apples are added. Ask for their help when you get home and put the apples away together. This way your child will know where to find them when they want one.
This is much like the Montessori classroom, everything has its place. The physical space is prepared in a way that the children know where to retrieve things so their minds are free to do great work with the great concentration which will follow.
If children have to adapt everyday to changing circumstances, it takes great work on their part to decipher and understand. This too will contribute to how much they are able to process and to how they are able to organize their minds.
Consider having accessible areas in every part of the home to allow your child to do as much as they can for him/herself. Create opportunities for conversation, get down to their level, ask them questions and wait patiently for the answer. Read to them on a daily basis, perhaps before bed, and role model reading in your home. They benefit so much simply by seeing you reading too.
Have the outdoors accessible to them on a daily basis and go for walks exploring plant life, offering the language if you have it. If not consider a trip to the library or perhaps you have illustrated books at home to help. Help your child to see the connections between what you discover in books and what you have seen in the world.
Take the opportunity as a parent to step back and observe, see how you child’s mind works and what engages him/her. In this way you can help support their self-construction in the best way possible.
“The reality of human existence is that life is full of transitions… Transitions are opportunities for development.”
Dr. Silvia Dubovoy Ph.D. AMI Trainer