Sunday, January 20, 2008

Creating The Right Environment

Many moons ago, I use to be a teacher assistant in a Montessori School. On the first day, I observed the class where I was to be working. I remember walking in and thinking how something was missing. Ahh....It was the gigantic teachers desk that usually takes center stage in a classroom. I also noticed how all of the children were moving about without "permission" calmly and busily working. The Lead Teacher picked up a rain stick and walked over next to me. Then she turned the rain stick over and all of the children immediately packed away their activities and came over to a circular shaped rug and took a seat. She did this to introduce me to the students. It was the most amazing thing that I'd ever seen! I'd worked in many schools and daycares, but never witnessed something so natural and phenomenal. I began to take notice of how peaceful and interested the children all seemed about learning. I also began to realize that the learning environment played a huge role in the way that these children learned and learned so quickly. As a homeschooling mamma, I had to incorporate many of the lessons learned from that experience into my daughters learning. I believe that in carefully preparing a learning environment at home, it will foster a lifelong love of learning. I talk to parents all time whether homeschooling or not, about the importance of embracing and incorporating education in everyday life activities. There's a lesson in all things! With that said, here's five tips for how you can create the right environment for optimal learning:
  • Model Behavior ~This is a, write lists, show your children how you calculate how much you pay for bills, read labels while grocery shopping, etc.
  • Provide Educational Opportunities ~Purchase quality toys and activities that provide rich learning experiences, Make sure paper and writing utensils are readily available.
  • "Child-Friendly" Your Home ~Go through your home and make sure that learning materials are easily accessible and neatly displayed.
  • Go Outside ~I can't express enough how important it is to take the kiddos out doors. WARNING:the questions that will come up can keep you researching for awhile.
  • Encouragement ~Encouragement does not mean let them try and then take over. Instead guide them if they need help. Show them once or twice, but let them learn to do it for themselves.

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