Montessori Alliance

Your Child – birth to 6 years

A good Early Years setting will allow your child to develop and grow in an environment that is suited to their ever changing needs. Just like your home, an Early Years setting needs to be welcoming, comfortable and safe. The exercises and tasks within the setting should challenge but be achievable. As your child grows and acquires skills, the exercises and tasks should be changed and refined, thus reflecting your child’s abilities and motivating him/her to interact and learn from his/her environment.

If we think of childhood as a staircase with many individual steps or risers, the child starts at the bottom, begins to interact and learn from his environment, practices his new skills until he is happy he is competent and then moves onto the next step where his next challenge awaits him. Each step builds on the skills mastered on the previous step thus the stability of the stair is directly related to how embedded each skill is in the child’s psyche. There are three distinct stages of development: Birth to 6 years; 6 to 12 years; and 12 to 18 years

The first stage of development – Birth to 6 years of age

This stage of development is one of great physical and mental development. The child once a helpless baby his every need catered for, develops into a child who can do many things for himself, can make his wishes known, understands many abstract concepts and is probably taking his first big step away from the security of home and preschool by starting big school. The child under 6 years of age is busy growing, physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. By using his hands he explores his environment and learns how to manipulate his environment for his own purposes. This is when the child has a special sensitivity to language, he learns it effortlessly and providing him with an environment rich in language through Nursery rhymes, stories, songs, poems, music and conversation, will increase & broaden his vocabulary. Have a look at this short video to see how important communication is for even the tiniest of babies.

Consistency and order are very important for the child’s mental development. The child receives a host of stimuli through his senses and uses the constants in his environment to categorise, sort and make sense of this information. Will and personality are being formed, as a result the child exercises his will and tries out various personalities which may be in direct conflict with yours. It is important the teacher/parent remembers they are the adult and are in control of their emotions whereas the child is only learning this skill. Patience, redirection, deflection, and creativity are all tools needed in your parent toolkit. Children of this age are generally self absorbed but through interaction with peers they learn how to negotiate and appreciate others points of view. Exercises which reflect the child’s environment, that are attractive to the child will draw the child to work. By paying attention to the child’s physical stage of development, exercises which aid hand/eye co-ordination, allow him to use his whole body and not just his hands will benefit the child’s overall development

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