Childhood is full of transitions, but one of the ones that is simultaneously the most anticipated and the most dreaded is starting a new school. This transition can be especially challenging when switching from daycare to a Montessori school because your child has to not only adjust to a new teacher and setting, but also a new set of expectations.
Fortunately, there are ways to make the transition a little easier on your child, and therefore on yourself. Here are a few ways to smooth things over.
Familiarize Your Child with Montessori-Type Expectations
Since the Montessori method is based around independent play and education, your child’s new classroom is bound to feel very different than daycare. One of the main differences is the independence expected of children in the Montessori environment.
You can help your child prepare by encouraging greater independence at home. Here are a few easy ways to incorporate independence into your child’s daily routine and help prepare him or her for the expectations of a Montessori classroom:
- Get dressed, brush hair and teeth, get ready for the day
- Help cook in the kitchen, serve food
- Organize and clean up toys
- Help with chores such as sweeping, unloading the dishwasher, and sorting and folding laundry
- Encourage self-guided play, art, and reading (even if just looking at pictures)
Expect Some Challenges
Once your child starts at the new school, you’ll undergo a transition yourself: Instead of trying to prepare your child for their new Montessori school, you’ll have to be there to offer support. Kids under pressure from a demanding transition respond in a variety of ways. Depending on age, your child might:
- Need extra sleep
- Get upset more easily or throw tantrums
- Struggle with drop-offs
- Act needy or clingy
During this period, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open as much as possible with your child as well as with his or her teachers.
Support the Montessori Method at Home
You can help to ease the transition by continuing to support Montessori ideas at home, not only while your child is settling in to the new classroom, but afterward as well. Here are a few of the ways you can incorporate the same principles into your child’s home life.
- Set up a “work space” at home. A table and chairs, tucked into the corner of your child’s bedroom or playroom, makes a great Montessori work space for home. Stock storage shelves nearby with art supplies and manipulatives.
- Continue fostering independence. Look for opportunities at home to teach new skills and encouraging continued independence.
- Follow the child. Allow time with your child where he or she chooses the activity, mirroring the Montessori theme of following the child.
The best way to prepare for a transition to a Montessori program is to understand what the Montessori method entails. If you have questions about the Montessori environment or how to prepare your child for the transition, please contact us today for a tour of our school. The staff and teachers at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside campus work with parents, guardians, and students to ensure the child is prepared and excited for their new journey into Montessori education.