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Summer activities for your children using Montessori in Calgary

How to use the Montessori method to entertain your children this summer

During the summer break, children will enjoy the leisurely time in which they can relish individual choices, uninterrupted play, ample rest and sleep, unhurried meals and unplugged screens.  Here are just a few ideas of how a child can fill their long summer days utilising Montessori in Calgary and return to school refreshed, nourished and eager:

 

Make the most of being at home 

  • Read books.  Have conversations about the characters, the places visited, the sights and smells.  Provide large blank sheets of paper and crayons or watercolors and invite the child to illustrate parts of the story they remember. Collect these into a handmade book of illustrations. 
  • Provide long extended periods of outside play with freedom to construct, dig, shovel and explore to heart’s content.  Resist staging and choosing for the child and instead, encourage the blossoming of his own imaginative play efforts. 
  • Do not be afraid of boredom, for this is the passage to imaginative, interesting activity of the child’s own choosing. 
  • Resist the need to provide a playmate or to be a playmate for your child on a regular basis. Play-dates are fine for an occasional get-together, but children really do enjoy their own company when given the opportunity to figure it out and act upon their own ingenuity.  The child’s play will reflect what is going on in their world.
  • Border a portion of the garden/yard for the child to tend with appropriate size tools and gear. Also, a small portion of the yard can be cordoned for digging exploration and the collecting of objects found.  Provide a tray and space to store these treasures.  The goal is that these activities will be something the child wishes to return to often and engage in at will.  Small creatures/insects that are encountered are respected by observing them in their natural habitat.  Books are read as encounters are made.  Let it be an organic development.
  • Include practical life experiences in your child’s day that will provide ritual, a marking of passage of time and a sense of responsibility in family life:
    • Sweeping designated areas inside and/or out
    • Washing windows with a spray bottle of vinegar water and wiping them clean with newspaper
    • Sorting and loading laundry into the washing machine
    • Folding laundry together
    • Setting the table, clearing the table after a meal
    • Helping peel vegetables for dinner
    • Ironing (older children) the napkins and small cloths (under the watchful eye of an adult, using a mildly warm small iron)
    • Making the bed together
    • Culling through toys and deciding what to discard and what to keep
    • Washing shoes, especially the outdoor play shoes that will probably need refreshing

Give them a break 

Occasionally a parent will ask guidance about working with their child on academic work during the summer break, mostly out of concern for the child’s ability to sustain previous learning.  We encourage the parent to recognize that the child needs the balance offered by a summer of relaxation and reflection. It is in the reflection that true, deep- seated learning takes place. Just as in the classroom the guide can observe children engaged in reflection following an engrossing, focused work (be it washing a table with vigor and precision or exploring the operations of addition with the stamp game), and she will respect this moment, children will use their summer down-time to reflect on what they have already achieved in the school year.  

Enjoy your family 

Sharing the summertime break with extended family and friends offers not only time to catch up on each other’s lives and experiences but also often provides challenges on how to continue on the path one has thought through with intention and care that the child is not exposed to media content or entertainment inappropriate to their development.  

As the ones who have the vision for their child’s development, we must plan for opportunities to gather with the ones we love AND accept the leadership in planning, recruiting support and providing for pleasurable re-connections with family and friends that do not exhaust our children or unravel our best laid plans for their development.

Locating and matching the perfect summer rendezvous for your child might take time and planning but your child is worth all of the effort.  For us, the adults, the summer is fleeting, but for children, it is a world unto itself that stretches out forever, until, magically, someone says it is time for school again.  Plan out your summer utilising the Montessori method in Calgary to get the best out of the time for both you and your children. 


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